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'Peppers' relish working in village

By CUI JIA in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-02 07:41
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A volunteer introduces intangible Chinese heritage items in China at the athletes' village of the Chengdu FISU World University Games on Monday. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Volunteers serving at games' accommodations say they have become part of one big, happy family

While working to ensure the smooth running of the Chengdu FISU World University Games in Sichuan province, volunteers at the athletes' village said they have become more confident and have found that it's not at all difficult for people from around the world to respect each other and live happily together.

Despite differences in their cultures and backgrounds, about 6,500 student-athletes from various nations and more than 1,000 volunteers have all become members of a happy family at the athletes' village in Chengdu University, said Liao Zixuan, a volunteer who serves as an attache of the Norwegian delegation.

"I didn't expect it to be this busy, because there are plenty of things to arrange for the delegation so everything can run smoothly and the Norwegian athletes can focus on competitions," said the 19-year-old student from Sichuan Agricultural University.

Liao said that what she enjoys most about working in the athletes' village is that the athletes and officials are all very kind.

"It has served as a hub that has connected different cultures and ideas together. Also, it has helped me see that the world can be a better place when people respect each other," she said. "And they've always appreciated my help, which has greatly boosted my confidence, so the experience of being a volunteer is also valuable for personal growth."

Over 20,000 volunteers nicknamed "little green peppers" have been recruited for the Chengdu games from 34 universities, assisting in areas such as language services, competitions and awards ceremonies.

The volunteers all want to offer the best service possible because it's the first time that Chengdu is staging an international multisport event, Liao said. "We want people to feel our passion, which comes from the bottom of our hearts. Also, we want them to have a good time here in Chengdu and love the city like we do."

Volunteers help athletes learn about Chinese paper-cutting at the athletes' village on Monday. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

She also believes that the volunteers can help the athletes better understand Chinese culture, which she feels very proud of.

"Many athletes have started to learn Chinese from the volunteers. I am sure that they will be able to speak better Chinese when the Chengdu games are over. Furthermore, they can feel the kindness and hospitality of the Chinese people through us. I believe one of the best things about hosting the event is that we can help young people from all over the world learn more about China and Chinese people," she said.

International students studying in Chengdu are also proud to be volunteers at the Chengdu games.

Moukpalakham Nounbaikhamn, a volunteer at the athletes' village from Laos, said she wants to help the athletes get to know Chengdu and take them to her favorite shopping areas and restaurants.

Volunteers are ready to serve outside Dong'an Lake Sports Park before the opening ceremony on Friday. ZHANG WEI/CHINA DAILY

"As an international student, I can explain things about China in ways that are easier for them to understand. Also, I know the campus very well," said Nounbaikhamn, who attends Chengdu University.

Nitesh Maharjan, a Nepali volunteer at the village, said he immediately signed up when the organizing committee began recruiting volunteers.

"Being able to meet university students from around the world is priceless. I've had so much fun and have made many new friends during the process of helping them," said Maharjan, another student from Chengdu University.

Maharjan said he is always willing to help people in the athletes' village whenever they need him.

"In the traffic light system, green means that it's OK to go, so I hope the volunteers' green uniforms show people that we are always ready to go to them and provide the assistance that they need."

Sofus Rasmussen, head of the Norwegian delegation, said volunteers like Liao are key in the operations of the Chengdu games.

"The lovely volunteers are so important. What would we do without them?"

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