Thursday, April 22, 2010

Geschäftsreise nach Hannover

[ Work trip to Hanover ]


Back to work after a very nice, and long, Easter weekend, I returned to my current intern project at the FDP office researching and translating information about current findings in Sports medicine and anti-doping protocols. I am not always in the office however, since there have been some nice opportunities, such has Berlin, that have provided me more outlooks on Niedersachsen and Germany as well.

Dr. Knopek, the abgeordneter, Parliament representative, that I am currently making my Praktikum for was back in Göttingen for a few days and one morning he had a meeting in Hanover to attend and I was able to come along. Hanover is the capital of Niedersachsen, and being the major city of the Bundesland, it has many important institutions – such as the notable Rathaus, many businesses, and a huge soccer stadium for the local team.

Our meeting was right next to the stadium and it was the headquarters for sport programs for Niedersachsen. Sitting at the oval table with other workers scrawling notes on their pads, I listened in on the history of sports in Niedersachsen that they discussed, and how money is distributed between different factions, such as school athletics, amateur athletics and Olympic training programs as well.

I was even able to tour one of the largest Olympic training facilities in Germany, complete with an indoor track, swimming pools and gyms with many different gymnastic sets. The subject of sport medicine and funding for training programs has never been something that I have had much previous knowledge of. I did realize however, that in America, many training facilities and programs for Amateur athletes are often connected to Universities, often times offering sport-academic related scholarships.

[ Dr. Knopek, the Bundestag representative whom I work for, at the Hanover Olympic Trainings center ]

Here in Germany, while observing the complex of the Niedersachsen Olympic training center, the disconnection from a university was notable. [sports are rarely, if ever, connected to schools are universities. Most students join private teams, and schools normally do not have any extracurricular sport activities that is so commonplace in American culture.]

The pressure of sport scholarships to Universities is widely understood and highly esteemed in the States, and this must be viewed as a very unique aspect of our culture. Until working on my project for the FDP, I had not previously realized that this concept of scholarships for athletic performance [as well as its negative side of students abusing steroids or other drugs to cheat the system] was viewed as a very foreign aspect of our culture. The trip to Hanover was another good experience and another example to me, that whereas Americanization is happening all over the world [and the pros and cons are many], there are still many aspects of our culture that are just as foreign as the next.