After intense battles and two losses in the first round, we got our first win on the motion: "THBT the West should impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia."
Happy about a lot of positive feedback and excited for what's to come..."
Find the report on Bratislava here:
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Dear Ladies and Gentleman,
today`s motion is: This house would support international debating tournaments like the Bratislava Schools Debating competition.
Today, Ladies and Gentleman, we would like to talk to you about the Bratislava Schools Debating Competition. We would like to convince you that the trip for a student is: firstly necessary, secondly beneficial and thirdly legitimate.
May I introduce us, we are a mixed team from Stadtteilschule Bergedorf and Gymnasium Blankenese and because we are six people we participated with two teams, Team Hamburg Blue and Hamburg Red.
Today our burden of proof is it to bring you debating closer and make you believe in the spirit of debating.
Firstly, Ladies and Gentleman, why is it necessary for a student between 13 and 20 years to be a part of this tournament?
We believe that a student can improve in many different ways. We would like to separate this into two different categories: the improvement of social behavior and cultural exchange.
In order to socialize and get to know different kinds of people, you actually have to talk to them. And this works in the following way.
Every time you finish a debate, you have to wait for ages for the judges to decide if you screwed up or if you were able to convince the judges that the other team was even worse. During this time you have two choices. Either you are going to ignore the other team totally or you use the chance to engage with a bunch of completely different people. The one who chooses the first option is probably wrong at this place.
The one who chooses the other option is able to have a fantastic view of a entirely different lifestyle, which leads me directly to my second point, the cultural exchange.
I would like to tell you a short story about that one. We debated a motion about putting sanctions on Saudi Arabia against a team from Kuwait.
You probably believe that this would have been kind of hard to debate against a country that has the direct inside view on Saudi Arabia, but I want to tell you something about the individuals of that team.
The first speaker was a Pakistani, the second speaker was from Egypt and the third speaker was from Scotland. You probably wonder how that came... well ladies and gentleman, that is an unsolved mystery, but we guess that it probably came because of family reasons. But that was not an exception; that happened all the time. Look, for example, at the UK team with members from Bremerhaven and Braunschweig. Realizing such things, by having the exact comparison and information is one of the best parts of the debating tournaments (except for winning the whole thing, that is probably even better).
We have another example for you, so that you can live through the time we had. Imagine three female members in a room for three people, but having to share their dorm and the one shower, one toilet and one sink with three other people. Now you have to imagine our surprise when we saw very male looking people walking into that dorm. So Ladies and Gentleman, we shared our bathroom with three Hungarian boys, it was true cultural exchange! Now we know that Hungarian boys actually need longer in the bathroom than German girls.
Now let me come to my second main point, the beneficiality, meaning the improvement of presentation and English skills.
We were “normal” before we started debating, we were “normal” before we started to go to international competitions, believe me, ladies and gentleman, when I tell you, we have developed drastically during that time!
Just like every other person it is a huge challenge, talking to completely strange people in a strange form of debating in a foreign language. But if you beat this, you can improve your public speaking in front of people who give you great feedback afterwards. You can get very helpful tips about what you can improve or change for the next time and you can get to know quite a lot of different accents, which makes it easier for you to understand people talking in English in general.
How are you able to improve you language skills while staying at this tournament?
Well, I think it is obvious that by talking English the whole time, your English has to start to adapt at some point. And that is what it does normally. You do not just improve in terms of grammar, you actually trust in your skills and do not think about every single sentence before you say them.
Why is it legitimate? Why is it legitimate to miss some days of school and use those opportunities to improve the things I just mentioned? Ladies and Gentleman, that is exactly what I have told you before.
During tournaments like this you probably learn even more than you do in one week of school. We worked day and night in order to be fully prepared and in order to give the best we can. We have learned on another level compared to school, with other people, about very current topics.
So what have I told you right now?
I told you, that international debating is not just helping you in socializing with other people, but also in gaining fantastic new perspectives on new cultures and it is also improving your skills in expressing your thoughts, in the English language, in front of people.
And we believe that all such things are necessary for a student in order to be able to go through the world more open and be able to express thoughts and convince people of new ideas in many different countries!
And in some cases your effort will be paid by three wins for Team Blue and one win for Team Red.
We have managed to break the Hamburg record!
And let's be honest, it was fun and amazing and that is why we continue doing this and why we take all the time we can get in order to improve and prepare. Sometimes it is that simple.
Thank you !
Alicia Probst (Gymnasium Blankenese) & Merle Ligenza (GSB)