The German language as an Olympic discipline

05.08.2014 - Article

Since 3 August some 100 young people from all around the world have been taking part in the international German Olympics in Frankfurt am Main.


A participant in the last German Olympics in 2012
A participant in the last German Olympics in 2012© dpa/picture alliance

For the majority of the around 100 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 19, this is their first time in Germany. Nevertheless, they are already familiar with our country’s language and culture – around half of them are pupils at so‑called PASCH schools.

These schools are part of the Federal Foreign Office initiative “Schools: Partners for the Future”. They not only enable pupils to come into contact with the German language but also aim to generate enduring interest in modern‑day Germany. Indeed, many pupils dream of going on to live, work or study in Germany.

Bridges to facilitate mutual understanding

Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomed the participants from all around the world in a video message. He said that this German language competition, the biggest world‑wide, showed that Germany and the German language were attractive around the world – especially to young people. In the coming days the participants would draw on their “wit and skill to compete against each other in this peaceful contest”, Steinmeier continued.

They will show that it’s possible to communicate across national, religious and cultural lines. I’m very pleased that the German language is serving as a bridge to facilitate mutual understanding.

Pupils at the introductory event
Pupils at the introductory event© dpa/picture alliance

The Foreign Minister also thanked the German teachers for their work, without their support it would have been inconceivable to hold such an event, he said. Some teachers who stood out for their exceptionally committed and innovative teaching were able to accompany their pupils to the Olympics in Frankfurt, where they also had the opportunity to attend further training seminars.

First prize – an internship in a German company

Logo of the international German Olympics
Logo of the international German Olympics© Goethe-Institut

Alongside linguistic abilities, an international jury also judges the pupils’ inter‑cultural and team skills. Prizes consisting of internships in German companies and institutions await the front-runners – perhaps a chance to fulfil their dream of living and working in Germany.

The public can see part of the German Olympics taking place at the annual culture fair at Frankfurt airport on 8 August. The German‑speaking band Revolverheld is set to play at the closing concert for the participants on 14 August – this year the band is the official ambassador of the German Olympics.

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