IES Abroad London Student Affairs Coordinator Participates in the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, but one of our IES Abroad London staff members had the great opportunity to be a part it! Read below as IES Abroad London Student Affairs Coordinator Hilary Benson shares her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Being part of it [the Opening Ceremony] was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  When I was lining up for the first audition on a very rainy October evening, I could never have imagined the journey I was signing myself up for! Rehearsals took place every Saturday and Sunday and one evening during the week for four months and were all outdoors. Students on the London Summer programs will remember that we had nonstop rain, so it was a very wet rehearsal process.

It was all worth the hard work and long hours in the end, though, and the final week building up to Friday, July 27th, was fantastic! We had three dress rehearsals that had audiences made up of the British Military, Games Makers, London Ambassadors (Olympic volunteers), and our friends and family. It was great to practice in front of a large audience, but nothing prepared me for walking out in front of 80,000 and the world's media!

My section was right in front of the media desks and the Royal box, the pressure to get it right was quite high. The performance went really well and any little mistakes were recovered well.  Standing beneath the Olympic rings at the end of our section whilst the crowd cheered and applauded was simply indescribable. I can't believe it's all over now—I’m already planning my audition for the Rio 2016 ceremony!

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