A group of Indian journalists taking part in a fellowship at DW Akademie visited a first division football match. For one of the six reporters in particular, it was a dream come true.
Sarah Abraham is actually an Arsenal fan. But football in any form is her passion so there was no way she could turn down the opportunity to visit the Veltins-Arena of German Bundesliga team FC Schalke 04. The game against Mainz 05 on September 25 was better than she'd imagined, she says.
"The energy in the stadium was just amazing," Sarah says about the match which Schalke won 3-0. "It was quite an experience watching a game like that live."
Sarah is one of six reporters currently taking part in DW Akademie's Meeting and Exchange Project for Indian Journalists in Bonn. Financed by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the fellowship provides a closer look at various aspects of multimedia reporting.
Back in India, Sarah is a senior associate editor for You & I in Hyderabad. In addition to her weekly football column, she reports on social issues for the magazine. Her passion for football developed at an early age, since her family was not "cricket crazy". She played the sport herself in college - though she admits she wasn't very good at it.
"I can't play football for nuts," Sarah says. "I think they only picked me because of my enthusiasm for my team."
For Sarah, football is a stunning sport to watch. "I love short passes and offensive football - the efficiency of the motion just looks beautiful." Back home in India, though, football is not a very popular sport. It is changing, however, due to the increased exposure to top games via cable television, for example of England's Premier League.
Sarah's visit to Schalke will certainly be one of the highlights of her stay here. She says she has otherwise been pleasantly surprised by her initial weeks in Germany because she wasn't really sure what to expect before she came. There are quite a few stereotypes in India about what is "typically German".
"Contrary to popular belief, Germans are very warm and welcoming," Sarah notes. As a journalist, she has personally discovered many stories she'd like to write about.
"I find it fascinating that people bring their own bags to the supermarket," she says. "It's great that it's normal for people to want to do something for the environment. We really need to engage people in this way of thinking in India and the media are the way to do it." But what aspect of German life has struck her most?
"People actually follow traffic rules here."
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