Despite two previous failed attempts, PyeongChang won its bid as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. As the third Asian city to host the Winter Games after Sapporo and Nagano, PyeongChang is perfecting preparation processes with less than 200 days remaining for the games to begin.
The PyeongChang Organizing Committee revealed that as high as the hopes are for the Winter Olympics, so are the participation rates of Korean citizens with over 224,000 recruited volunteers.
Targeting the citizens’ enthusiasm, the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) hired 550 Korean university students as its interns. As the only host broadcaster, the OBS runs a Broadcast Training Program (BTP) to discover talented future broadcast journalists willing to participate in documenting their home country Olympics.
In March, BTP officials visited universities in Korea, including Ewha, to recruit students who are eager to gain practical experiences in broadcasting through the historic Olympic games. Providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work as an intern in a large broadcasting operation, the BTP offered students to choose their areas of interest and apply online on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Ewha announced this unique opportunity on its website, gathering over 300 willing students. Choi So-rah, a sophomore in the Division of International Studies, said she heard about the internship in one of her communication and media classes.
“As I am interested in media, especially in the field of journalism, I decided to double major in the Division of Communication and Media,” Choi said. “During one of the classes, my professor introduced us to the BTP. So, I decided to join because I wanted to gain practical broadcasting experience and also be a part of the Olympics.”
The BTP requires students to attend minimum eight hour long specialized sessions that explain the importance of international harmony within the Olympic’s history, and the different roles students can play as BTP participants. Students were given various choices, such as an audio assistant or an Olympic News Channel Assistant.
Choi signed up as a broadcast supporter and was designated to her third choice, a commentary systems operator. Although it was not her first choice, she admitted to having enjoyed learning a totally new category.
“I was able to learn about the technical skills that is related to the overall systems in the Olympics, ranging from the international broadcast center to the rights holding broadcaster,” Choi said. “These workshops helped me properly understand how broadcast systems operate in real life. I finally got to know how our family was able to conveniently watch the Olympics.”
Heo Seo-jeong, a sophomore majoring in the Division of Media and Communication said she felt honored to be a part of the BTP.
“When I first heard about this opportunity from my professor, I was so proud of Ewha being an OBS partner university,” Heo said. “As a student studying media, not only do I want to have practical experiences in handling media related equipment, but I also want to learn about diverse cultures and effective communication by participating in an international event like the Olympics.”
The BTP enabled students like Heo and Choi to learn and experience not only about the media, but also about the true meaning behind the Olympics.
“I have wanted to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics since high school in any way possible because of my father,” Heo said. “When my father was a sophomore in university the 1988 Summer Olympics was hosted in Seoul. At that time, it was a huge turning point for Korea’s economy and international status. Although my father wanted to be part of it, he did not get a chance to do so. Exactly 30 years later, in February, 2018, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be held. As a university sophomore, I will be able to accomplish my father’s dream of participating in the Olympics.”
As it is a rare opportunity to participate in the Olympics, BTP participants are rewarded with not only monetary payment but also high satisfaction. BTP helped Heo concrete her dreams as an international journalist.
“I did learn about the theory of media and broadcasting at university, but I was never able to gain practical training or hear from actual journalists or broadcasters,” Heo revealed. “However the BTP experience ignited my passion for journalism once again, and I am eager to document one of history’s greatest international events.”
As the Winter Olympics opened a special opportunity for Korea to get more involved with the international society, the BTP opened a chance for future international journalists in Korea to learn more about interconnectedness by engaging with other countries and broadcasting each historical moment.