While sports enthusiasts were counting down the days to the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, 60 students from across Indonesia gathered at the Goethe-Institut in Jakarta to participate in the German Olympics.
Every year since 2010, the Goethe-Institut Indonesien hosts the National German Olympics, in collaboration with the Indonesian Asssociation of German Language Teachers and the Language Teacher Conference for German, supported by the German Embassy.
More than 1300 students from the archipelago joined the selection process in October and November 2017, where they had to prove their German language skills. 60 lucky finalists were then invited to Jakarta for the final round.
Here, the 15 to 17-year-olds were further tested: their ability to cope with everyday situations in German, such as understanding and listening to radio broadcasts, having conversations about their interests and hobbies or understanding core information from newspapers or letters. In small discussion groups, participants spoke about topics revolved around family, traveling, school, home and daily life in Indonesia and Germany.
In the end, six winners were victorious at this year’s German Olympics, namely Kristiana Ellen (SMA Santa Ursula Jakarta), Theresia Evelyn Monica Sugiarta (SMA Santa Ursula BSD), Hagata Raguel Jehoshua (SPK SMAK Penabur Kelapa Gading), Idi Pangesti (SMAN 1 Lawang), Jauza Mumtaz (SMA PGII 1 Bandung) and Fabian Vadnyabima Atrazsa (SMAN 19 Bandung).
Raimond Selke of the Goethe-Institut’s Teachers Services Department and Courses Expert said that the Olympics were a great success this year, not only thanks to the enthusiasm of the participants, but also because of the colourful fringe programme that enlivened the award ceremony.
“We had performances from a Bogor-based dance group and a young pianist,” he said. “We are also grateful that H.E. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg, the German Ambassador to Indonesia, attended the award ceremony, as well as representatives of various agencies we have worked together with for many years, such as SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization).”
The champion and runner-up will receive a scholarship for an intensive four-week language course at one of the Goethe-Instituts in Germany and will also represent Indonesia at the International German Language Olympics from 15 to 29 July in Freiburg, Germany, competing against the winners from other countries.
The other four winners will also have the chance to travel to Germany.
“This scholarship is usually provided by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD,” Selke explained. “They will spend some time in Germany, go to a couple of different cities, live with German guest families and will also visit German schools while there.”
While the students were definitely the stars of the Olympics, the teachers who accompanied them also had a busy schedule in Jakarta: they joined a seminar about teaching German.
The German Olympics are an impressive showcase of the successful cooperation in the field of education between the Goethe-Institut and Indonesian schools that teach German. The Teachers Services Department of Goethe-Institut Indonesien works closely with education offices on both central and regional levels, as well as the various associations of German teachers in Indonesia promoting German language in schools and universities.
The number of German language students - at the Goethe-Institut, but also at universities and schools - has grown steadily over the past years, and many Indonesians want to study in Germany.
“When we started the German Olympics in 2010, we had schools from 23 provinces participating. This number has now grown to 27, which is proof of the growing interest in the German language,” Selke said.