On a cold January afternoon, Medium sat down with the 21-year old Luxembourgian rugby player Charlie Stone. After having studied sports, management and business at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam for almost a year, he’s currently in his first year of the bachelor’s in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. In this edition of Students of Amsterdam, we’ll discuss the change from playing semi-professional rugby in Germany and living in a country as small as Luxembourg to playing amateur rugby in Naarden-Bussum and studying in Amsterdam.
The first topic of our conversation is Charlie’s rugby career. Being introduced to rugby at the age of 6, Charlie’s love for the game grew. His rugby career peeked around the age of 19, when he played in the senior team of one of the two Luxembourgian rugby clubs. They were even able to play in the so-called Rugby-Bundesliga; the highest level of the league system organised by the German Rugby Federation. Choosing for a study and life in Amsterdam caused that Charlie had to quit playing for his club Rugby Club Luxembourg. ‘I came here, and unfortunately I can’t travel 4 hours for rugby, so I got a new club.’ Although he quit playing in the German Rugby-Bundesliga, Charlie still plays on a national level in the Netherlands. He’s currently playing for Rugby Club ‘t Gooi. Last season they won the national championships. However, playing rugby for ‘t Gooi differs from playing rugby for Rugby Club Luxembourg. ‘I’m no player at pro level, though it’s a serious level. It’s amateur, but with a professional mentality. Yeah, that’s what I would call it.’
I think Dutch rugby is looking good, they’re certainly on the right track!
When we ask Charlie about his opinion on Dutch rugby, he’s very positive. The Dutch national rugby team is now placed 23th on the men’s world rugby rankings, whereas Germany is placed 26th, and Luxembourg does not appear within the top 30. According to him, Dutch rugby might not yet get as much attention as it deserves, but it’s growing. ‘There are a lot of talented foreigners playing for Dutch teams, and there’s a lot of huge players coming through as well. I think Dutch rugby is looking good, they’re certainly on the right track!’ When we ask him about being paid to play rugby, Charlie emphasizes the differences between rugby and, for example, football. ‘As soon as you play a little level in football, you get paid. With rugby it’s not like that; not even all teams in the Rugby-Bundesliga get paid.’
His love for sports motivated Charlie to choose for sports, management and business at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Nevertheless, the study wasn’t what he had expected. Charlie tells us that having to do sports every day was something nice, but the massive reports that had to be written afterwards were less likable. ‘I’m still a big fan of sports, but I didn’t really see my future there.’ He therefore quit in March, and started working for UberEats. When we ask Charlie what motivated him to start the bachelor’s of Communication Science last September, it appears that he’s mainly fascinated by all the tricks that media can pull on us.
Before he moved to Amsterdam, Charlie used to live in Mondorf-les-Bains, a small village in Luxembourg. Located approximately 30 minutes away from Luxembourg city, the Luxembourgian capital. According to Charlie, Mondorf-les-Bains is a quiet place, but it does have its advantages. ‘I used to take my dogs for walks in France, haha, that’s a thing not many people can say.’ We from Medium were interested in the future plans of someone who studies abroad, and whose parents have also moved away from their country of origin. When we ask Charlie about his plans for the future when it comes to his place of residency, it appears he’s still uncertain. This is understandable, as being able to speak 4 languages and studying something internationally oriented leaves you with a lot of options and chances.
After having had some fun conversing in Dutch, German and French, we conclude our conversation with lessons in life. Charlie’s biggest advice? ‘Have a laugh!’
Cover: Renée Sapein / Final Editor: Ivo Martens