Nicolas Brand

Why did you join SWS?

I met Torben Ziegert – we lived together in Lübeck and started playing hockey in the same club – and he told me about the SWS and studies in France. I contacted the foundation and after some meetings I was allowed to join the IFI in Rouen. I wanted to continue my studies in France and SWS was a great opportunity to study and play hockey.


When and for how long?

I started studying in September 2002 and stayed in Rouen for 3 years.


Where were you located?

First, I stayed 7 nights in Guillaume and Julien`s apartment, but then we found a room to rent at a family house in Mont St Aignan for the rest of the year. Years 2 and 3, I lived in a private apartment in Rouen.


Where were you playing hockey? Which team? …

AS Rouen UC in the first men’s team


Apart from playing hockey, what were you doing with SWS? (Studying? Working? … )

I lived in Rouen and enjoyed the French touch of life. I have family and friends in France, so I did some travelling too. However, I spent most of my time at IFI – the first year as an “International Exchange Student”. After a successful exam in June 2003, I joined the real student program for the last two years. I received my Bachelor exam in 2005.


What did you learn during this experience?

I learned a lot about living in another country: habits, language, culture…but also a lot about working in an international context with lots of students coming from other countries.

I discovered many things about management, marketing, financial analyzing, international trade…

And enough about French vocabulary that I decided to stay living in France.


What difference did it make for your life / career?

I still live and work in France, so it was a very good experience for my life and career.


Do you have a funny story / experience to share about your experience with SWS?

I was coach for the Rouen junior team for an indoor tournament at Caen. No parents are able to accompany their sons to their hockey game, so I was nominated to drive the club bus for this journey. IT WAS JUST HORRIBLE! I couldn’t drive normally with the 25 year old Renault: there were problems to start the engine, smoke, and it stalled every 50 meters. It took 15 minutes to get out of the club car park! We made 2 km in nearly 30 minutes. On the motorway it was better, but we still sent a lot of smoke on the road. And then, the old problems reappeared at every stop, and naturally at every toll! But we found a super and rapid solution: 4 or 5 boys got out of the bus and helped to push the car. Then when the bus started moving, they jumped quickly into the rolling bus: Unimaginable and totally crazy!

On the road I thought first that this is my fault, that I am unable to drive a bus anymore: what’s going on?

Later I realized that it was a gasoline problem and that it was the fault of the users before, who entered the wrong gasoline into the tank. I never saw this old car again.


Do you still play hockey?



If yes, where?

Active Player at HCG: Hockey Club de Grenoble (Nationale 2 Zone 4)

And I have created a new club in march 2015: the HC3G

HCGGG: Hockey Club Guilherand-Granges Grizzlies (Valence, Drôme-Ardèche)


Did you ever come to the SWS tournament? Which ones?

SWS Youth tournament in Rouen (Summer 2003)

Adult Easter Tournament Flottbek, Hamburg 2004


Final important question: What would you like to say to Hinrich and Doni (Basti’s parents)?

Dear Doni and dear Hinrich,

First I hope that you have still the image of your lovely son in your memories: Love and Hope are the most important.

Second, I will say “Thanks, Merci und Dankeschön”. Offering life experiences and life opportunities by creating the foundation is a very enriching way to bear fruits. I hope you are bearing the fruits every day. I wish that Basti is happy during all his study program, and that his joy reflects on all the SWS Hockey People. Thank you very much,

Nicolas Brand