Football and PASCH?

FC St.Pauli ©Goethe-Institut London

Visiting the FC St. Pauli in Hamburg

The traditional „Schietwetter“ (the term Hamburgers use for their usually bad weather) is now a word every participant of the PASCH football camp that took place from October 20 to 25 2019 should know as this was the way the beautiful city of Hamburg in the north of Germany presented herself – at least on the day of their arrival.

Even though the participants had arrived from all over England, the Republic of Ireland and also Northern Ireland, they still had one goal: To take part in the football camp hosted by the legendary football club FC St. Pauli and, of course, to learn German! But there is also another characteristic that everyone shared: All of the participants are students from PASCH schools, from Coláiste Eoin und Coláiste Íosagáin, Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, from Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, but also from all over England, that is, from Richmond School & Sixth Form College in Richmond/North Yorkshire, LSA Technology and Performing Arts College in Lytham St Annes, Europa School UK in Culham, and Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge.

Pupils in Hamburg ©Goethe-Institut London Despite the group having very different levels as to their knowledge and skills in both the German language and football they very speedily established a kind of community spirit with the help of a speed dating activity on everyone’s day of arrival – and of course also with the help of the German sweets MAOAM that especially Harry will probably be very keen on in the future ;).
But helping songs in the morning, before breakfast even that we always had at 7.30 am, helped enormously too: On the first day of the camp, one of the participants from Ireland, Stiofan, celebrated his 16th birthday and everyone joined in a traditional German song.

When we finally were picked up by the coach at 8.30 am everyone was very excited already to meet their two football coaches Kieran and Milan that warmly welcomed us at the St. Pauli football grounds and almost immediately started with the warming-up exercises that helped all the participants to gently get used to the very professional exercises that Arsenal Football Club had kindly allowed the Goethe-Institut and St.Pauli to be used for this camp by providing us with their Double Club materials.

These were also used in the daily German session that took place every day between 12.30 and 1.30 pm and not only provided the necessary vocabulary for the participants with German-related football terms but also included fun activities like FC St. Pauli bingo and other games.

The camp was scheduled from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm every day and thus it was made sure that everyone was able to develop some routine but the free-time activities were really very diverse and a lot of fun.
Not only were the PASCH students offered to visit an indoor fun and action pool with a slackline over the water, a boulder area and also towers to jump from into the pool on the first evening but they were also able to see Hamburg from a totally different perspective on the second night when they climbed up the mast of a sailing ship in the harbour with spectacular views of the Hamburg night sky on the Elbphilharmonie.- or, as the inhabitants of Hamburg say, the Elphi) but they also had the chance to see the famous Millerntor stadium from the inside which is used by the professional team of FC St. Pauli as well. Unfortunately, on the fourth night we had to celebrate our farewell party already – time really flies when you are having fun!

All in all the week was very intense and a lot of fun but of course not really long enough to get to know all of the new friends that have been made to the same extent or to be able to see all the beauties that Hamburg, or “the pearl” as the city along the river Elbe is famously called, has to offer.
There is only one solution really: Everyone has to come back ASAP.
And last but not least: In Hamburg farewell is “Tschüss” which translates as see you AGAIN!