Geography Olympiad (iGeo)

I’ve often been told that you’ve got to do the things in life that scare you. You’ve got to try the things you think you can’t do; take the chances you believe are impossible. And for me, getting to travel as part of the team to the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) seemed impossible. Surviving two stages of the selection process, to be chosen as one of four in New Zealand travelling to the overseas event, seemed laughable. And so, that’s why I entered – sometimes it’s the wild unlikelihood of succeeding that inspires you to take on a challenge. And now, because I did just that, I have the great honour of representing New Zealand in Hong Kong this year.

The iGeo is a global event where teams from over 40 countries converge at a host location to compete in various geographic tasks. But as much as it is about writing essays and collecting data, the event seeks to generate conversation about the issues the world is facing – climate change, poverty, overpopulation. It’s about meeting likeminded people from across the world, sharing our solutions for a better future in a way that transcends differences in language and nationality and religion. It’s about deepening our understanding of different people and places – embracing the beauty of other cultures. Beyond the outcome of any test results, this experience will have the profound effect of shaping us into more competent global citizens.

by Emily Barea

Cambridge High School

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