How to volunteer for FIFA World Cup

This post discusses how you can volunteer for FIFA World Cup like I did at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

 

Application process
Large scale sporting events often require hundreds of volunteers. Call outs for volunteers can be sent out as far as 2 years in advance, especially for events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games. TIP: signup to the mailing lists of events you want to volunteer at.

I saw the FIFA 2014 volunteers call out in September 2013. At the time, all I had to do was complete a short online application form. Later, in December, I had a Skype interview with a man based in Rio. The interview was tougher than I had expected. It was like an interview for a paid job. TIP: Prepare answers to common interview questions and have lots of examples ready. And take the interview seriously! Just because you’re applying to volunteer doesn’t mean you can act casual. I know a person who applied to be a volunteer but was offered a paid positions in his interview.

A few weeks after my interview I had to do an English proficiency test and a short course on the history of FIFA.

Volunteer offer
FIFA sent me an offer in April 2014. I was over the moon. But with only 6 weeks until my first shift, I had a lot of planning to do in a very short amount of time!

Luckily, I had already started to make plans in case I got an offer. For example, I had spoken to my boss about taking time off work and to my landlord about vacating my room. Tip: Last minute offers are not uncommon. Think in advance about what preparations you need to make if you receive an offer.

A friend from England (stood under the trophy), who was also a volunteer, stopped by the Accreditation Centre to collect her badge.
A friend from England (stood under the trophy), who was also a volunteer, stopped by the Accreditation Centre to collect her badge.

Training
I received training online and face-to-face. The online training was in English and the face-to-face training was in Portuguese and Spanish. Unfortunately, I don’t understand Portuguese or Spanish, but luckily everything I needed to know was covered in the online training. Also, whenever I had a question I could speak to my Team Leaders who spoke English.

Uniform
Uniform collection was lots of fun. People cheered as the first volunteer uniform was handed out. I was stood in line frantically trying to convert UK sizes into Brazilian, however, magically they already had my measurements and everything fit me perfectly. I guess I must have completed a form at the beginning of the application process.

Volunteers Fun Day
Before any volunteering took place a Volunteers Fun Day was had. At the fun day volunteers received training, played games, toured the stadium and most importantly had the opportunity to meet other volunteers and the staff whose job it was to manage the volunteers.

Touring the stadium on Volunteer Fun Day
Touring the stadium on Volunteer Fun Day

My Role
I was based in the Accreditation Centre where security badges were issued. There were 4 jobs within the Accreditation Centre, and thankfully fluent Portuguese wasn’t necessary for any of them! Volunteers were allowed to try each job. My favourites were badge making and working in Problem Resolution. Surprisingly, and why I was needed, the computer system was in English. This was a huge benefit to me. Tip: Apply for a role that suits your interests. You want to enjoy your time volunteering after all, and if the role will teach you new skills and give you experience, all the better!

Challenges
I arrived in Brazil just in time for my first shift, however, unfortunately the building I was meant to work in wasn’t ready, so I had to wait two weeks before I could start. Initially I was frustrated, I could have stayed in England, but the extra time meant I could spend two weeks being a tourist, which was fantastic. Tip: Be flexible and look for the positives. The logistics of organising large scale events means things may not run to schedule/smoothly.

Another challenge was my lack of Portuguese. Luckily, I picked up the basics fast and lots of people spoke English. I only got frustrated once when I couldn’t articulate to my Team Leader that I wanted my lunch at the same time as a friend (not a big deal). Tip: Learn basic phrases before you arrive/as soon as you arrive at your volunteering destination.

Highlights

  • Made lots of new friends.
  • Won a ticket to watch Cameroon vs Croatia.
  • Incredible Volunteer Management team who looked after us so well.
  • Incredible Volunteer’s Centre with top notch facilities including video games, table football, ping pong and a yummy canteen.
  • Discovering what an amazing city Manaus is.
Watching Cameroon Vs Croatia.
Watching Cameroon Vs Croatia.

Final Tip: Don’t be nervous/worry!
I know it can seem scary. An interview, an audition, a test, a group training session with total strangers, but it’s 100 per cent worth it and you will survive! Everyone is in the same boat, and if anyone seems super confident, their just hiding their nerves or have done it before (it’s addictive)!  Also, the organisers want your help A LOT! They will make the process as easy and, often, as fun as possible. I remember my first audition for the London Olympic/Paralympic Games. I entered feeling super nervous and left dying for a place. The audition was amazing. It consisted of dancing with 200 other people to Beyoncé on a Friday night ‐ just like a normal Friday night! The staff were so friendly it blew me away. I knew I had to be involved when I caught myself smiling on the subway home. I NEVER smile on the subway. NEVER. So I knew I had found something special.

Good luck with your applications! 

Byeeeeee!

Lettice

Published by Lettice

Lettice is an avid traveller, volunteer and writer. Follow her blogs for tips on where to go, what to do, and how to get there.

18 thoughts on “How to volunteer for FIFA World Cup

  1. hey, i just came and see your blog after i got email for next fifa. well i dunno i will get it or not. huft.

    but it really make me excited and curious.
    they just said “you will get invitation to the test in your personal account at the Volunteer portal.”

    i have no idea, what kind of test. tbh. would you tell me? and help me? it will be great to hear you answer.

    greeting from indonesia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, thank you for your comment. It is nice to hear from someone in Indonesia 🙂

      Congratulations on applying and receiving an invitation to the next stage. When I applied for FIFA 2014 the process was like this: first I completed an online application form, then I had an interview via Skype, then I did some online training. The interview was like an interview for a professional job. The interviewer was very friendly and asked me typical interview questions, such as “How do you handle an angry costumer?”, “Tell me about a time you worked in a team”, “Tell me about your previous volunteering/work experience”. The online training was really good. It was a modern website with not too much information on it.

      I hope all goes well. Have fun and enjoy!

      Like

    1. Hi, Thanks for the comment. Travel and accommodation expenses are paid by the volunteer. FIFA, and other large sporting events such as the Olympics, usually do not cover those expenses. However, I did hear the Sochi Winter Olympics provided accommodation for volunteers.

      Like

  2. Hello there!
    I’m so glad to find and read your amazing blog! thanks for sharing btw :”)
    I registered myself to become a volunteer, and I will have the interview in a few days! (soooo nervous)
    I’d like to ask whether they asked questions about FIFA? Cos if so, I have lots of catching up to do
    And how’s the interview? are the questions asked more about ourselves or…?

    thank you sooo much!
    I’m sorry if I’m bothering you

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne, thanks for your comment. Well done on getting an interview. You will do great. You will enjoy it too. I found my interviewer was very friendly.
      The interview was like a professional job interview. They asked me questions to do with my work/voluntary experience and how I would respond in different situations. They did not ask me about FIFA but that doesn’t mean they won’t ask you. So maybe prepare a little.
      Good luck and enjoy!!

      Like

  3. Hi Lettice,
    Thanks a lot for sharing the minute details and intricate experience, gained. While reading your blog I was trying to visualise closing my eyes and I was really thrilled.

    I have registered for the ‘FIFA U-17 World Cup, India 2017 – Volunteer’. Could you please guide me with the interview process as I am totally novice to this.

    Best regards,
    Pratip

    Like

    1. Hi Pratip,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m pleased you enjoyed the blog post.

      The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 sounds very interesting. I hope you become a volunteer.

      My first tip is don’t worry. The interviewer is on your side. They want to offer you a role. Second, prepare answers to common interview questions. Your answers should include examples. It can be examples from school, work or home. You want to be able to show that you have useful skills such as: good communication skills, friendly, patient, helpful, interested in football etc…

      Be calm and enjoy the interview. It is a chance to talk about yourself and tell them why you should be a volunteer.

      Good luck!

      Like

      1. Thank you Lettice,
        Thanks a lot for your prompt response with the valuable set of information. I’ll plan and prepare accordingly.

        Have a great day.

        Best regards,
        Pratip

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! I really like this post. Btw, may I ask how much do you spent your money during your voluntering FIFA 2014. How about your dorm or hotel? How about your food? What FIFA give to us except uniform? Thankss

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, good questions. My spending was very low as I didn’t have a lot of money. I stayed in a family home. I paid them approximately £3 a night. I couldn’t afford to stay in a hostel during the world cup as the prices went up to £70 per night, per dorm bed! During each volunteering shift I was given one free meal, e.g. lunch or dinner. The meals were huge and really yummy. I can’t remember if I was given a transport card for the bus as it was so long ago but sometimes you get given one of those too. I paid for my flights to Brazil. I hope that helps. If you get the chance go for it. I loved the experience with all my heart. I made some amazing friends.

      Like

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