Similar to the online application process for volunteers at London 2012, for Rio 2016, we are asked to complete online tasks. These take the form of tutorials that simultaneously introduce us to the country, Olympic disciplines and competition locations, while at the same time gaining an understanding of our temperament. Transporting us to volunteer-like scenarios, the Online Dynamic poses carefully-worded questions to ascertain how well we would deal with typical situations that occur during Games time. As you can see I got the full 100 points for Inspiration, but ‘only’ picked up 77 Friendship points along the way. No doubt the scene where I choose to leave the Saudi polo team to order their own lunch, while I rush off to get to my shift on time, is going to come back to haunt me!
Language Level Tests
EF is the official provider of language programmes at Rio 2016, with big plans to teach a second language to over 1 million Brazilians before the Games. Worthy of note is that all Games volunteers will be offered one-year courses, and for the general public, basic English courses will be available, too.
For the second stage of my application, I was asked to complete a listening and reading test for the languages I listed on my application – French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese. Now, the funny thing is, is that I actually got the highest grade in my weakest language – Chinese! How on earth was I awarded the Advanced level for Chinese? Well, let me let you into a little secret: all of the language tests are in a similar, if not, exactly the same, format. Literally, the reading articles and questions were exact translations of each other, so I basically remembered the answers from previous languages, and just applied them to the Chinese one! No seriously, I was actually able to read and understand everything in the Chinese section. But this begs the question, if and when will they test speaking and writing ability? As this would immediately reflect a truer understanding of my linguistic ability.
On a sad note, I ‘only’ got an Upper Immediate award for French, my strongest second language. That was because it was the first test I tried, and, despite the, “read the instructions carefully” warnings, I clicked through the test blindly, missing out on answering a few questions! Doh!