Von Elias Köller (E2)

In 11th grade I took part in the ‘Bundeswettbewerb Fremdsprachen’ in English, due to my teachers’ recommendation but also because I wanted to further improve my English skills. During this contest I had to record a video, explaining a topic of my choice, as long as it fit the general theme of ‘Grenzen’, as well as take an exam, in which my skills in the English language and my knowledge about ‘The Commonwealth of Nations’ would be tested.

Preparing and recording the video was, in my opinion, the harder part of the contest. While picking a topic was a challenge on its own, writing the script and recording the video accordingly turned out to be the most challenging part of the entire contest for me.

I chose the topic of how Covid-19 changed our social and personal boundaries and limits, which was interesting for me, as I experienced the Covid pandemic first-hand, thus only having to do some research on smaller parts. After choosing my topic, I went on to write my script, which went through many iterations, as I had multiple concepts in mind, ranging from me standing in front of the camera, to me only talking while an avatar would move on the screen, which I went with in the end. After I was done with writing the script corresponding to my vision of the video and recording said video, I went on to edit it, which was not too hard for me, as I already had some experience in editing videos.

After I was done with the video and sent it in, the exam was next. Of course, I spent some time to prepare the exam’s topic, ‘The Commonwealth of Nations’. My research was mostly done online, as I was given a few websites to study by the organizers of the competition, and I personally find it easiest to research on the internet. While I do think I prepared well, I was not prepared the best, as I found out on the exam day. Speaking of the exam day, it was the 20th of January, when I wrote the exam and I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Not because I thought my English skill would be bad, but  rather because I thought my research might not have been enough and I may not have been able to remember everything about the Commonwealth that I needed.

On the exam day, the rules were quite strict. Food and pens had to be brought in transparent bags, so as to prevent cheating. At first, I had to write a dialogue, imagining me questioning the head of the Commonwealth to ask questions about a tour the head took around the world in Commonwealth countries. After having finished this text, I went on to work in the next parts of the exam, which were a listening comprehension, a geography test, a reading comprehension, and a word-addition task all regarding the Commonwealth. I did finish up all of these parts quite quickly, which led to me being able to leave 30 minutes earlier than anticipated, which was quite nice.

Overall, I think taking part in the ‘Bundeswettbewerb Fremdsprachen’ was a good experience, although I have to say, it is not for everyone, as some parts can be a bit stressful. I believe if anyone was thinking about taking part in this competition, I would encourage them to do so, as there really is nothing to lose in the end and if you perform well, you can even win a few prizes.

In the meanwhile, I have received the result: a second prize. Thus, I can say, it was worth having taken part.