Becoming the first of its kind, the SAIT campus transformed into an Olympic-style village for competitors this past weekend for the WorldSkills Competition set to begin this week.

Over 900 competitors will essentially sleep, eat and play in the same campus complexes as one another, giving all the students a level playing field when it comes to competition over the 10-day trades event, SAIT skills co-ordinator Pat Rokosh said.

“This is the first time this has ever been done, putting all the competitors in one place, because usually they stay in hotels throughout wherever they are, so this is a unique experience,” Rokosh said.

Rokosh said another benefit is all competitors will have access to computers and resources such as the library.

Malaysian student Ayu Hamdan, 21, was touring the campus yesterday before embarking on a city expedition and said through her interpreter Imma Ismail she preferred to stay with the competition.

“I like staying with people from the other countries because you can talk about their ideas and technologies and learn a lot from it, and it’s of course a lot of fun too,” she said, adding she enjoyed meeting new people.

While Hamdan toured the city, many of the other world students took a trip to Banff in 20 buses, including Drumheller car-painting competitor Daniel Green.

“I lived in Calgary for eight years before but I really like being able to hang out and meet the teams and get to know everyone,” Green said.

As for Banff?

“Everyone seems to really love it, especially the people from other countries.”