Many of you may know that I applied to be a volunteer for the 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP being held in Brazil this summer. I’ve alwaysssss been a huge soccer fan and the world cup, is without a doubt, my favorite sporting event IN the world… and It has been my dream ever since I was 14 to attend one! So, I was incredibly pumped to have the chance to interview and train with FIFA. I have already been to Brazil, but I was excited at the possible opportunity to go back and reconnect with friends I had met in the country 3 years ago.
During the selection process, they allowed me to pick which cities I preferred to work in. I chose Rio de Janeiro as one because it was the city I stayed in when I was in Brazil a few years ago. I also had friends in whose apartment I could crash at. In addition, I know of a great hostel (Books hostel) in the area. My secondary choice was Sao Paulo because, once again, I knew of family friends in the area that could either help me find or even provide me with a place to stay. Well, long story short… I did not get my choice cities as an assignment 😦 (womp, womp, womp) Instead, they provided me with a list of alternative cities that were still in need of volunteers.
I thought to myself… Alright, fair enough. There are hundreds of thousands of people applying for this opportunity, I can’t expect to have gotten the cities I chose so easily. So, I googled some of the other places they listed and chose Natal. It’s a beautiful city located by the beach in Northern Brazil, and is considered one of the safest cities in the country.
I emailed FIFA back stating that I might be interested in heading to Natal and asked what the job offer would be and what I would be assisting with for the cup. Mind you, this is already in late March when I had emailed them back. The cup starts in June. Meaning, flights and hotel/ hostel stays are going up by the minute each day that I’m forced to wait ( they don’t provide any accommodations for their volunteers or help with flight expenses). I was beginning to worry, wondering if I could still afford this trip. However, I kept in mind that this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and it was worth my wait to see what they’d say.
I ended up not hearing back from FIFA (accepting me as a volunteer for Natal) until April… TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE CUP WAS TO START! I looked up how much hostel prices were back in February for the month that I would be there for the cup (June 12th- July 13th) : Staying at a hostel for four weeks (yes, sharing a room and bathroom with 8-16 different people) would cost me up to $3000 dollars. When I was in Brazil three years ago, I paid on average $12 a night to stay at a hostel lol… pretty crazy. So, booking one this last minute, easily would cost me several thousands of dollars (and that’s if I could still even find a hostel that was not already booked for the month- highly unlikely), which is absolutely ridiculous. Keep in mind this doesn’t include the $1700 plane flight (probably also more expensive at this point) and food and other expenses I would have to take into consideration.
The worst part? I look to see what my shifts were/ schedule would look like, and I ONLY received 4 shifts. 4 shifts out of the entire month I’m supposed to be there… LOL I could not possibly spend so much money and fly all the way out to Brazil for 4 shifts of work (with a job in which I would be unable to enjoy any matches). Flying from SFO to Natal would have been a 15 hour trip, not including stops and layovers. With a heavy heart, I turned down the offer. Never did I think I would say no to FIFA. However, the trip was just not worth it for me, obviously for the factors mentioned above. And, as I also mentioned , I had already been to Brazil. In my opinion, it was better to use my money on experiencing a new place.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the way FIFA Brazil handled the selection and allocation of volunteers. The whole process seemed very “last minute”… If I sent an email asking a question about the selection process or online training, I would receive a response weeks later (if I even received a response, which was unlikely). They were very inconsiderate of the volunteers, making us wait to see whether or not we were selected while hostel, hotel and flight prices were rising incrementally and availability was decreasing. Not to mention, some of the brazilian volunteers selecting international volunteers to fly out there, were quite rude. Next time, I think I’ll just buy match tickets and plan my trip to the cup in advance. Better to travel on your own terms than wait the very last minute for a “chance” to go.
ANDDDDDD!!! Another opportunity presented itself in June =) God is toooo good!
My cousin’s boyfriend has a brother who is getting married in Bali in June. Not only did she invite me along for the wedding (which is going to be a huge Indian celebration!), but we’re flying through Paris and will stop in France on our way back to the states!
Brazil is a fun place, but having the opportunity to visit a completely new country for far less money definitely made the choice of going to Indonesia more reasonable and favorable.
None of the below pics are mine (Obviously, I haven’t left yet hehe) =)
I’ve been wanting to go to Bali ever since I read the book Eat, Pray , Love and googled it to see what the region actually looked like. It’s a beautiful beach getaway! I bought my flight this past week and am ecstatic to go to Asia for the first time. In addition, after stopping in Paris, we plan on heading to Rome for two days to check out the sites and enjoy the city as much as we can ! I’m super excited. Even though it’s only 2 days, I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and plan on getting the most out of those 48 hours that I possibly can.. hehe =).
I’m confident that one day, I will go to a world cup. Maybe this year, just wasn’t my year to experience it up close and personal. I still plan on watching it and rooting for my teams (Viva Mexicooooo & Forcaaaa Portugal!!!) =)
Regardless, the opportunity to travel to Asia and back to Europe is one I am TRULY grateful for. I can’t wait!