Contest: Reach for Your Words, Olympians!
100 young people from 50 countries are taking part in the Olympics
(Photo: Valentin Fanel)
(Photo: Valentin Fanel)
10 July 2012
Skilled use of German words, creativity and team spirit are the qualities that must be demonstrated by the contenders in the International German Olympic Games. Ambitious German learners from 50 countries are currently competing in Frankfurt. Of course, the credo is: It’s being there that counts!
It all began with a satellite dish. When Ongnjen was little his parents bought a satellite dish. The only problem was that the dish received the German signal the best. And so Ongnjen and his brother in Serbia watched German cartoons and school programmes every day. “After a while, the two of us could converse in German,” Ongjen relates today. “So we had a secret language that no one around us could understand. We took advantage of that to tell each other stories that we wanted to keep secret.”
Today, Ongnjen is 18 years old and one of the German learners who the Goethe-Institut invited to the third International German Olympics in Frankfurt am Main. Presently 100 young people between the ages of 14 and 19 are taking part in the ambitious contest. They come from Asia, Africa, the USA, Australia and Europe – a total of 50 countries are participating. Their goal is to gain the title for Best German.
Admittedly, it’s not just about German, but also about the exchange by the Olympiads during the games. They will not only demonstrate how well they know the German language and culture, but also bring along plenty of information about their own countries.
The Olympics centre around research and discussions by the young people concerning various topics: How do I envision my future? What professions are popular in Germany? How do young people Germany and in my country spend their leisure time? Are the people who live in Germany richer or poorer, more reserved or outgoing than those in my homeland? What is modern here? The groups can present the subject matter in various, freely chosen formats, such as talk shows, sketches, posters or photographic works. Creativity is the key.
The Olympics are accompanied by an extensive fringe programme. City excursions, concerts and national theme evenings where the participants present their homelands are only part of it.
The competition is held at three skill levels, so that both young people with basic skills and advanced German learners can take part. Who will stand on the winners’ pedestal will be decided on 13 July and then the Olympic Language Games in Frankfurt will end with the award ceremony.
The International German Olympics are an event of the Goethe-Institut and the Internationale Deutschlehrerverband (International Association of Teachers of German). They are being held for the third time and, since 2008, have grown to be the largest competition for the German language. The work of the Goethe-Institut in the PASCH Initiative is largely contributory to the success. Worldwide, it networks approximately 1,500 schools where German as a foreign language has high status.
The International German Olympics are supported by the Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft Frankfurt/Main and the Bertelsmann, Bi-Media, Cornelsen, digital publishing, Duden, Hueber, Langenscheidt, Ernst Klett, Schöningh and Spotlight publishing houses. Deutsche Welle is the media partner.