Oxford German Olympiad: Sisterly Success


Hallo Leute! 

Every year, the Oxford German Network of Oxford University runs a themed olympiad with various activities for each age category and even group submissions. This year’s chosen theme was “Kafkaesque Creatures”: each competition task focused on the topic of animals inspired by the writings of Franz Kafka, a German-speaking writer born in Prague in the late 19th century, who gave the world the adjective “kafkaesque” (used to describe an extremely confusing and even frightening situation) from his bewildering stories which often reflected his fascination with animals. 

My sister Christina and I created a German board game based on German animals, including the mythical “Wolpertinger,” a hare with wings and antlers like a deer. Our submission won first place, meaning we were invited to a prize-giving ceremony on June 21st. Please find the link to the video, in which we explain our board game (auf Deutsch, of course!), attached. 

I was also fortunate enough to be a runner-up (second place) in round 2 of the Oxford German Olympiad (a second round of competition activities is advertised after round 1, which this year had the theme of “Kafkaesque Creatures”, and is on different topics to the first round). My task was to film a video presentation of myself discussing the question “Brauchen wir jemanden, an den wir glauben können?”, i.e. “Do we need someone who we can believe in?”. Attached is the link to my debate, as well as a transcript of the video. 

The prize giving ceremony was hosted in the breathtaking Bodleian Library of Oxford University – a building seamlessly combining the old and modern. Before and after the ceremony, we were able to visit the library’s current exhibition on Kafka, open to the public to mark the centenary of his death, which gave fascinating insights into his life and work. Various professors introduced the different categories of the olympiad, explaining the background of each task and sometimes displaying the impressive winning entries on a board. After each introduction, all winners, runner-ups and commended entrants were awarded a certificate as well as a generous goodies bag, and I even received a monetary prize for my round 2 entry. To finish off the evening, Christina and I were even interviewed about our experience by a camera team as part of a video promoting the olympiad. We can be seen with our certificates standing next to Professor Henrike Lähnemann, Chair in Medieval German Literature and Linguistics. 

As mentioned above, each age group, ranging from year 5 to university graduates, had a choice of several different activities to take part in, from crafting your own kafkaesque creature to writing diary entries from the perspective of animals, not only for individual students of German, but also for group collaborations and pupils who don’t have any prior knowledge of the language. I hope that more Abbey students will feel encouraged to participate next year – learning more about German culture, the satisfaction of putting your language skills to use and the exciting prize giving ceremony, should you win something, definitely make the olympiad worthwhile. 

Board game instructions video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ND6cJSz4pX4_PGffYh3Ox0DIUdPAdJXL/view?usp=drivesdk 

“Brauchen wir jemanden, an den wir glauben können?” video presentation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1poytMs9vz0ya1Ethm98q0ZaOgW51xBIF/view?usp=drivesdk 

Transcript of the video presentation (Why not have a go at translating it?): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bSNPKd4wofj7eouwRI6eIZ7c8xuWPN_G/view?usp=drivesdk 

Maria Upper V

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