UEL student preparing for Olympics role in Rio

UEL student Bruna De Figueiredo will be volunteering at the Rio 2016 Olympics

UEL student Bruna De Figueiredo will be volunteering at the Rio 2016 Olympics - Credit: UEL

Four years ago, thousands of volunteers were preparing to help out at the London Olympics – and one University of East London student is about do the same thing in Rio.

Brazilian-born physiotherapy student Bruna De Figueirido is returning to her homeland to volunteer at the Games this summer.

She is also hoping to get a placement with one of the national teams to help her improve her CV, while she finishes her course.

“My plan was also to try and get a placement with Team GB but they decided not to take any students,” she said.

“I sent an email to the Olympics consulate, explaining that I was already volunteering at the Games, to see whether I could get a placement in physiotherapy in any other team.”

In addition to her volunteering role, Bruna has also secured a five-week placement in her home city of Fortaleza in north-east Brazil, where she will be working at the Antonio Prudente Hospital and the MM Thera Training Clinic.

“It will be good for me to make a comparison and see how physiotherapy works in Brazil,” she said.

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“I volunteered in a centre for dementia for three years before starting university so I know how the NHS works here, but funnily enough I have no idea about my home country.”

The single mum, who originally moved across the globe 12 years ago to pursue her dream of becoming a physio, will get a chance to return to her roots to work from July to September.

“I don’t want to go back to Brazil permanently, my whole life is here now,” she said.

“I’ve got three children who speak Portuguese with a very English accent and see Brazil only as their mum’s country.”

With the Olympics just round the corner, Bruna is already packing and thinking about her next move.

She said: “I’m not sure about what I’ll be doing after I graduate.

“My little one is only six and I’ve spent four years in education without stopping, so maybe I’ll take a break and then do an MA.

“One thing is for sure, I really want to work for the NHS and make a difference.”

It has not been all plain sailing for Bruna, as being a single mum brings a lot of ups and downs but her determination and support has pushed her through.

“Coming from Brazil, I know what it means not having any kind of support in education and what I have experienced here is the complete opposite,” she added.