Graduate Megan Long became a Eurovision volunteer - all through a chance meeting
I came upon the opportunity by chance. It was a meeting I had with a stranger in my home town of Wishaw at the local volunteer centre’s café that put me on to it.
She had volunteered in Ireland a number of years ago and said at the time it had been a life-changing experience.
Less than two months later there I was: a Eurovision Song Contest volunteer guiding people round the host city of Copenhagen having arrived only three days before.
Few people are aware the Eurovision Song Contest takes on hundreds of volunteers but I was lucky enough to get picked for this year’s in Denmark.
When I got in touch with the organisers, their enthusiastic response sold the opportunity to me instantly.
There’s a lot of competition for volunteer places and you need to be able to support yourself for at least two weeks.
I ended up seconded to the Volunteer Corps of Copenhagen working as a guide for visitors. Although I’d never been to the city before, I quickly read up on the history for the role which, in effect, welcomed visitors to the city and provided them with information about the event.
Eurovision is possibly the weirdest and most wonderful event I’ve ever been involved in.
It has a cult following across the world – not just Europe – and people can get very partisan about it all. They come dressed in national costume though some go much further, dressing in the most amazing outfits.
The event is a huge money spinner for the city involved. Usually visitors start arriving up to two weeks before the event – with many staying on for longer. The average stay is five days, according to research.
The contest is produced yearly under the auspices of the European Broadcasting Union, with members made up of participating countries.
I’ve been a big fan of the contest since I was in primary school.
My first memories were Stockholm in 2000 when Denmark’s Olsen Brothers won with the song Fly On The Wings Of Love.
Since then I’ve become a bit of a geek. I meet up every year with other Eurovision fans where we spend the weekend together, drinking an eating. It's not just girls either: the contests has a lot of men following it now. It's become something of a geek's dream and if you can't readily the winners since it bagn then you face instant but good humoured vilification.
It’s great – I love it. And, like all volunteering opportunities, I’ve met what I hope will become life-long friends.
I’ve reapplied for next year’s finals in Austria. It’s ideal because I studied German at university which is required in the criteria. And having volunteered this year, I’m really hoping I’m successful.
After graduating this year I’m still looking for work so I’m hoping the experience will bolster my CV and make my a bit more of a proposition to employers.
If you’re not working volunteering is essential. And taking on these kind of niche opportunities makes you stand out from the crowd a bit more.