Why did you join SWS?
Heard about it through playing at SWS Tournaments with East Grinstead (when I played at EG). Sounded like a great opportunity that I couldn’t miss as a young player. I love travelling and this gave me a solid framework for doing so.
When and for how long?
October to December 2013 – around 12 weeks.
Where were you located?
Where were you playing hockey? Which team? …
I played for Grossflotbeker Tennis, Hockey und Golf Club (GTHGC) in the 2nd and 4th teams. I trained with Jimi Lewis in the 2nd team squad.
Apart from playing hockey, what were you doing with SWS? (Studying? Working? … )
I was studying German on a language course at Colon Language Centre, Hamburg. I started on the most basic course (about a week into the program) and spent six hours a day, five hours a week learning German. Was intensive but very rewarding and really good quality teaching and learning environment.
What did you learn during this experience?
I learned how to properly move away from home and support myself, from finances to accommodation to socializing. I enjoy travelling and meeting new people and going to a completely new country to enhance these skills was a great opportunity for me and my young development.
What difference did it make for your life / career?
I haven’t stopped talking about the experience since! Every one of my family and friends comment on how much it clearly meant to me because I don’t stop telling stories about my experience!
I obviously have English as my first language, but I enjoy learning new languages and about different cultures. I now have a firm grasp of French and German (basic) and am currently trying to learn Dutch at home in England. It’s quite an impressive trait, especially with the ladies!
If circumstances were different, I would have liked to have stayed for a lot longer, perhaps taking a year out to live/work/play hockey/learn German in Germany.
Do you have a funny story / experience to share about your experience with SWS?
It always makes me laugh everytime it happens, but I seem to have a good grasp of the German I know as I am often mistaken as a local when in Germany. This makes me proud of myself, but also SWS for granting me the experience.
Do you still play hockey?
If yes, where?
I play back at Horsham Hockey Club, where I grew up playing before the few seasons of University and East Grinstead hockey.
Did you ever come to the SWS tournament? Which ones?
Yes I did…I think it was the East Grinstead 2011 tournament. Helped Hinrich run the umpires and games on time for the weekend.
Final important question: What would you like to say to Hinrich and Doni (Basti’s parents)?
Hello to you both, hope you are both well. You know how thankful I was after the experience in Germany and I do hope to be out to Germany at some point in the near future to see everyone. It was two years ago that I went but everyone comments on how I have never stopped talking about my 12 weeks out there. I still practice the German I learnt there and am always urging other youngsters in the clubs around my area to look into the SWS Program and what it could offer them.
May there long be youngsters undertaking in this wonderful program for hockey players and travelling enthusiasts alike!
See you soon and take care!