Sport runs in KLU student Philip Schmid’s blood. The son of top-class sailors – his father sailed at the Olympics and won a world championship in 1988 – Schmid first picked up a hockey stick at the age of five. Ever since, the 22-year-old from Hamburg has been chiselling out his own successful sporting career, which has included taking home a third-place medal from the under 21 hockey world championships in India in 2016 and playing for the Germany senior team which won the European Indoor Championship this year.
And while hockey remains his passion – the defensive midfielder trains five times a week and travels frequently around Germany to play club matches – Schmid says he’s aware of the necessity of a career beyond the sport. “Most hockey players do something besides hockey. It’s professional, but not that professional that you can live from it,” he explains. Consequently, the Uhlenhorster Hockey Club player has recently taken up a sporting scholarship to do a BSc in Management at the KLU, having completed an apprenticeship as shipping agent after he left school.
The scholarship is part of a recently formed cooperation between the KLU, the Olympiastützpunkt Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (OSP) and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Hochschulsportverband which offers full or partial scholarships to three athletes a year who compete in the OSP’s five core sports of hockey, rowing, sailing, beach volleyball and swimming to complete bachelor and master degrees.
The cooperation represents a significant achievement for the KLU, particularly as it is rare that a private university is named an official OSP partner university.
In addition to academic scholarships, athletes are provided mentoring that allows them some flexibility in their studies, explains Stephan Platz, who is responsible for the KLU’s sport program and is the driving force behind the cooperation with the OSP.
“A year before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 the athletes might be away training and competing for 120 days that year, so the KLU can help plan their study so that they can fulfil those demands and also meet the requirements of their courses, perhaps by offering additional classes,” he explains.
“To get a scholarship the athletes have to show that they have good academic grades as well as training with and being members of the German Olympic Training Centre. They are recommended to the KLU by the Olympiastützpunkt and the KLU’s academic board then decides which athletes will be offered scholarships.”
Schmid is only a couple of weeks into his own scholarship, but says he’s been impressed with the KLU and his course so far.
“We had the welcome week to get know each other, the professors and the KLU, and we’ve had some seminars and I think everything will be very good. At first I was a little bit afraid because everything is in English here, but I can understand everything and it’s been good,” he says. “Also, the aspect of the logistics is the perfect combination with my apprenticeship. And as for my hockey, the KLU knows I’m playing a lot and it’s very good for me that they try to help me with playing hockey and also studying. At a larger university I would be one of hundreds of students, but here everyone’s in a smaller class and everyone knows each other."
As part of a wider initiative to develop co-curricular activities, the KLU is increasingly involved in sporting activities. Plans are currently underway to establish student football, hockey and basketball teams to take part in university tournaments.
As for Schmid, he says his plans for the future are clear-cut: “I’m focussing on my BSc in combination with my hockey and in 2020 there is the next Olympic games. Those are my two biggest goals – finishing my degree and competing at the Olympics.”