It’s fair to say Philip Schmid leads a busy life. In the second semester of his BSc in Business Administration degree, the 23-year-old also plays hockey in Germany’s first division and is a member of the 30-strong German squad competing for a place in the first team for this year’s Hockey World Cup in India.
“On a busy day, I start at 7.45am with training with the Germany team players that play in Hamburg and train till 9 or 10,” the 23-year-old explains. “After that I’m at KLU till 3 or 4 and then I train with my club from 7 till 10. I’m home at 10.30pm.
“It’s pretty tough. You’re completely done when you come home and you also know you have to start the next day at 7 or 8am.”
The first-ever recipient of a sports scholarship from KLU in cooperation with the Olympiastützpunkt Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (OSP) and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Hochschulsportverband, also regularly plays hockey on both Saturday and Sundays.
While undoubtedly a gruelling schedule of academic and sporting commitments, it’s one that he says he is able to handle with the support of KLU and the university’s sports relations manager Johannes Dietz.
“At first it was very new to me, but KLU and especially Johannes support me to manage to combine hockey with studying,” he explains. “For example, during a training camp with the national team in Valencia in February, I had an exam I couldn’t do, so I talked with Johannes about how to solve this problem.”
Dietz, he says, contacted Schmid’s professor, who arranged for him to sit his exam in May.
“That gave me the opportunity to go to the hockey camp and also do the exam,” he says. “Everything is working very well and I’ve passed all my courses so far.”
Schmid is also thankful of the support of the OSP, saying without the organisation he wouldn’t be where he is now. “The OSP is the only reason I was able to study at KLU. I have a career advisor there who talks to me about my career besides hockey, and she recommended this university. I’m very happy it happened.”
As well as his academic achievements, Schmid has enjoyed success on the field as well. Despite being hit in the head by a stray shot during the opening minutes of the indoor Bundesliga semifinal against Cologne in February this year, the Uhlenhorster Hockey Club player went on to score two goals in that match and another in the final against local Hamburg rivals Club an der Alster to help his team capture the 2017/18 title.
With his club currently languishing in seventh in the outdoor league, Schmid says his short term goals are to make the German team that travels to Ireland in May and then the World Cup in India in November. His long-term goal, meanwhile, is to make the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“My aim is to play hockey as much as I can and study as much as I can. My goal for university is to finish my bachelor’s degree and then I have to decide how my hockey is going.”
In the meantime, he says he’s enjoying his studies and being a student at KLU.
“We are a small university and all the students know each other. There are students from around the world in my class, including Bolivia, China and Italy and I’ve made friends here. The whole atmosphere is really good.
“Also, the bachelor programme is very interesting. We have some tough things like accounting and statistics, but there are also some nice courses like logistics and marketing.”
Nervous about studying in English when he started his degree, Schmid says his confidence and ability to communicate in the language have grown significantly while at KLU. “To listen to the professors and teachers is easier for me than speaking or writing, but in general I feel more and more comfortable in this situation. It’s a good chance to improve your English because for three years you have to think, speak and write in English.”
And despite a great deal of his waking hours being occupied with sport and study, Schmid says he is still able to find time for a social life.
“We don’t have games on both days every weekend,” Schmid explains. “Sometimes when you have a very tough week you only want to lie on the couch and watch a movie, but sometimes you want to go with friends for drinks and do stuff like normal students do.”