Behind the scenes: Volunteers
In the first interview, we meet Andrea Vucinic who is working as a volunteer at the Press Centre. The organising broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest relies heavily on a volunteer workforce to help with the smooth running of the Press Centre each year. Eurovision.tv's Glen Webb chatted with Andrea to find out more about the role and the people who undertake it.
What exactly is the role you are doing here at the Eurovision Song Contest?
Andrea: "I am working as a volunteer, on the information desk where the pigeon holes are situated. When the journalists come to the desk, we take their pigeon hole numbers and check if there is anything in their pigeon holes and then hand the information. We are also a general information desk for the Press Centre."
With the role being described as voluntary, does that mean you are not salaried or paid expenses for the work?
Andrea: "That's right, we are not paid as we are volunteers. We do it for the experience, the chance to practice our different language skills. We are happy to help our country, and represent Serbia in the best light."
How did you come to be a volunteer, was there a process where you had to apply for the role? How does the system work?
Andrea: "I read about the volunteer role on the Serbian Television website. It said we could put our names down and apply for this. After the closing date passed, they interviewed us and then chose the people they thought best for the job."
Was there a lot of preparation work for you to do? Or does the role only begin once the first press and media arrive in the Press Centre?
Andrea: "There was not much preparation work to do. We came here a few weeks before, met our boss and got instructions. We also came to see the venue and Press Centre to familiarise ourselves with the venue."What is your normal day to day job in Belgrade?
Andrea:"I am normally a student, I study languages at the University of Belgrade. I study Spanish as a first language, and english as a second language."
Have you personally had any interest in the Eurovision Song Contest itself before you took up the volunteer role?
Andrea: "Yes, I have been watching the contest since 2004, since Serbia first came back to the competition. It is very important here in Serbia, especially as we are now hosting in 2008."
Do you have any particular favourites from the contests you have watched over the last years?
Andrea: "I normally like the Spanish entries, Ramon in 2004 was my favourite. This year I like the Dima Bilan song for Russia. He has a high profile here in Serbia as people remember him from two years ago at the contest. I heard the Dustin the Turkey song for Ireland, that is funny. Estonia is also funny, as is Spain too. The Chiki Chiki song for Spain is not really a good song but it's a very funny performance."
One year ago, Serbia won the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki. What memories do you have of that victory. Where were you watching the show?
Andrea: "I was actually watching it at home, with my sister and her friends. I didn't expect Marija to win because we felt we had better songs in the previous years, and they didn't win. It was a great day for us though, people were waving flags in the centre, everyone was out on the streets. They had a big reception for Marija's arrival home. I saw everything on television."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Andrea for taking time out to speak with us, and thank all of the 2008 volunteers team for the excellent job they are doing.