Several of my blogging friends have been telling us about how they experience the Olympics, most notably Jenny, who has the advantages of a) living in London and therefore being right THERE where it is all happening, and b) being a professional travel writer and so being able to convey the atmosphere of a place better than someone who, like me, just writes down what comes to their mind in no particular order. If you have not done so already anyway, I also recommend you read Graham's post about the opening ceremony, and what John thinks about the subject.
My weekly paper, the ZEIT, has been mentioned before on my blog; it is to me a very reliable source of interesting reading material which often leads me from one of their articles to more research on a particular subject, sometimes even buying books because of what I have read there.
Yesterday, I found an article in this week's issue about a different kind of Olympics: The Deutsch-Olympiade (German Olympics).
Have any of your ever heard of it before?
There is, of course, all the information about it on the Goethe Institute's website; they organize the whole thing, after all. And doesn't it sound like a great idea, to bring together young people from all over the world for two weeks and have them work together at a goal that will result in some of them being rewarded extra for their efforts?
100 students aged 14 to 19 can participate. They have to have a certain command of German and are, if I understand correctly, recommended by their teachers. They are then invited to Frankfurt, Germany, where they spend two weeks with all the other students (and one teacher on every two students), taking quizzes in German, writing newspaper articles in German and working out presentations in German, as well as visiting places of interest - and with so many young people in one place, I bet there is some partying and a lot of fun going on as well.
At the end of the two weeks, the four best students out of the 100 (who came from 46 different nations this year - I don't think I can even name that many countries out of the top of my head!) are rewarded with a prize: a four-week stay in Germany, including a language course at a Goethe Institute.
Remarkably, out of the four medal winners, three are boys - isn't it commonly expected that girls are more linguistically inclined, while boys are more into maths and physics?
Of course, this all costs a lot of money, paid for by the Goethe Institute. And of course, it is not entirely done out of pure, unselfish love for humankind. Germany has, as a whole, a problem with recruiting experts; there is a lack of well educated young people willing to work hard in many of the industries that constitute the backbone of our economy. Attracting young, well-learned people to Germany is therefore not a bad idea, and could lead to at least some of them eventually deciding to come here for their studies and later on for work. As far as I am concerned, I think the German Olympics are a good thing - although a lot less glamorous, popular and well known as London 2012 :-)