The championship is divided into three competitions, Lisa Schallenberg explains. ‘Not everyone speaks equally good English so there are three competitions depending on how good your English is. Floris and I are in the 'English as a second language' group. The pair were in the quarter- and semi-finals on 2 January. 'We won the quarter-final,' Lisa tells us, 'but the semi-final didn't go quite as smoothly. Luckily it went well enough to get us through to the final.'
The final lasts for an hour and a half and, as with the previous rounds, the teams have fifteen minutes to listen to a proposition. They can use the fifteen minutes to prepare for the debate. Tools such as encyclopaedia and internet are banned.
‘To prepare for the competition we read a lot of news and background articles so that we would have the information at our fingertips,' she went on. The propositions are by no means easy. The quarter-final was about financial support for politicians in the US who make huge compromises with their opponents ' That's a very specific subject,' Lisa said. 'The organisation does it deliberately in the quarter-finals in order separate the wheat from the chaff.'
Thinking up arguments
Lisa, who studies political sciences, gets a lot of benefit from her experience in debating. 'If I have to write an essay, for example, on a subject I've never debated, I find it quite easy to come up with arguments. I would say that debating helps me more with my studies than my studies help with debating.'