by Marina Radovanović, BSF Volunteer 2017, 2018
When I first heard about BSF Volunteer Team in 2017, I did not even think this experience would shape my later professional development. Initially, I was afraid that my experience wasn’t sufficient for such a big conference, but I decided to apply. And I didn’t regret it!
A lot of teams, familiar and new faces, practical tasks and skills – things that each of the BSF volunteers will also experience in 2019.
BSF Team Building
From the selection process, BSF staff gives an impression of a serious, playful and systematic team. Assessment of the English language and the motivation of each candidate are some of the first memories and challenges within the BSF story.
The game, however, starts before the three-day conference. BSF training for volunteers is the best way for newcomers to get to know what they can expect at the conference. Every year, representatives of the BSF community prepare volunteers for various duties during the event itself, through a two-day interactive training. After gaining insight into the whole BSF concept, volunteers are grouped into teams where mentors get an opportunity to point out specific responsibilities of each team member, but also to discuss the schedule of volunteering. The day is always completed with entertainment and team building games. That’s why BSF training for volunteers is a true introduction to creating a unique BSF spirit.
BSF team in action
However, the main story just follows… Enthusiasm, concentration, but also a dose of anxiety – feelings that are overwhelming every new volunteer at the beginning of the BSF. Anyway, with each new panel, and every new conference day – volunteers adapt to the atmosphere and get the impression that from the very beginning they are a part of the BSF community. Friendliness of the team leaders, solidarity of other volunteers and constant availability of the coordinator of all volunteers make every unforeseen challenge easy to solve. The dynamics of conference days dictate the behavior of all volunteer teams. Some of them will perform their duties even before the BSF itself (Logistics, Technical support), some will be on standby during all three conference days (Protocol, Media, Registration and Web teams), while some volunteers will also be at disposal after the event itself (Analytical team). However, the BSF charm is that the mission of each volunteer is not exhausted by the responsibilities within their own team. Taking different roles and swapping teams happens during the conference and that is precisely when valuable skills are acquired and team spirit built.
And after the BSF…
BSF again! Realizing that BSF is a great opportunity for every interested student to discover how things are happening “behind the scenes” and how diplomacy works in practice, in 2018 I repeated my volunteer experience. Although the second time in a new team, the conclusion is the same – once you become a part of a valuable BSF story, you will want to return to it again.
Apply here to become a BSF Volunteer 2019!