Each year at the Eurovision Song Contest, local people from the host city volunteer to become a Delegation Host, or Guide. This is a key role in the smooth running of the contest, as every delegation needs a host who can provide translation services, and generally manage and coordinate the day to day schedules for the artists rehearsals, press conferences and receptions. Marijana Dačić has the role of Delegation Host for the Albanian team in Belgrade. Eurovision.tv's Glen Webb met Marijana to gain an insight about what this role involves.
Eurovision.tv : What exactly does the Delegation Host do at the Eurovision Song Contest? Can you explain a little more about what a daily schedule would look like?
Marijana: "My job is to provide the Albanian team with a full service of translation, and organisation of their day to day routines. I am with them all day long every day. I translate when it is required, I organise to get the team from the hotel to the arena for rehearsals, guide them through the procedures and press conferences. And coordinate getting them to the receptions and parties."
Eurovision.tv: From your experience here so far, what have the Albanian team been like to work with?
Marijana: "I was really surprised what nice people they are. I adore Olta Boka and the guys. They are so polite and nice. I am really pleased that they qualified for the final."
Eurovision.tv: How did the application process work? What did you have to do to be considered for the role of Delegation Host?
Marijana: "Around 1000 people applied and volunteered for this role at the Eurovision Song Contest. This was reduced to 80 people after some interviews. The organising team decided who was to look after which country. They took in to consideration what languages applicants can speak. I got Albania, I am working with another colleague who is studying the Albanian language, and I graduated in philology and can speak fluent English, and these are the two languages needed for the Albanian delegation, so we were the natural choices."
Eurovision.tv: When it was decided that you were to look after the Albanian delegation, at what stage did you get to first meet them?
Marijana: "I actually didn't get a chance to meet them before they arrived in Belgrade. I only found out they day before they arrived that I was looking after Albania. The first time I met them was when I arrived at the airport to meet them."
Eurovision.tv: What is your normal day job? What are you qualified in?
Marijana: "I am actually not working at the moment. After the Eurovision Song Contest is over, I am supposed to start a job. The work I do is translation, mainly in English."
Eurovision.tv: Prior to working here at the Eurovision Song Contest, did you have any knowledge of the competition? Do you recall any previous contests?
Marijana: "Yes, I have watched the Eurovision Song Contest since I was a little girl. My mother and I always watch it every year. The songs that I can remember at the moment are the Turkish winner from 2003, Greek winner from 2005 and of course the first Serbian entry Lane Moje from 2004. It was a big event here as it was the first participation of Serbia."
Eurovision.tv: What do you recall of Marija Šerifović's victory in Helsinki last year? Where were you watching?
Marijana: "I was watching at home with my parents. When it became clear that Serbia would win we were shouting Go Marija Go Marija!! Then we started thinking about the fact that the contest would be hosted in Belgrade in 2008. I called my friend immediately to share the news, she was on holiday in Turkey at the time! There were people out on the streets, chanting Marija's name, waving flags. It was amazing."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Marijana for the interview and providing an interesting insight in to the role of Delegation Host.