Australian Geography Competition


2021 International Geography Olympiad

Istanbul, Turkey, was the planned location for the 2021 International Geography Olympiad (iGeo), but it had to be held virtually because of COVID-19. Teams from 46 countries took part. Australia was represented by:

  • Nikki Ballinger – Walford Anglican School for Girls, SA
  • Imogen Cooper – Wesley College, Vic
  • Rhea Sankar – Canberra Grammar School, ACT
  • Gemma Snyman – Roseville College, NSW

We’re very proud of the team as they all received bronze medals.

Imogen, Rhea, Nikki and Gemma in Sydney for iGeo training

We tried to get all the team together in one place, but winter lockdowns made this impossible and only Rhea and Nikki made it to Darwin (along with Simon to supervise) as NT was the only destination that didn’t involve quarantining.

Gemma participating in the iGeo remotely from her house

It wasn’t Istanbul, but Rhea and Nikki did get to explore Darwin and its environs, including the local markets, a boat trip on the Adelaide River to check out the crocodiles, and a visit to Litchfield National Park.

Rhea and Nikki swimming in Litchfield National Park

There were still opportunities to mix with other students from all around the world, although it had to be done virtually. One of the events where this occurred was the discussion among students about the posters they had prepared on the impacts of climate change in their home country.

Virtual exhibition of Australia’s poster

I thought it was awesome how even though we all came from different cultures and backgrounds we were able to come together (virtually) because of a shared passion: geography. I loved that the Olympiad gave me the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures and make new friends. It’s a shame we couldn’t all meet in person, but it was still a fantastic experience.

The next Olympiad is due to be held in Paris in July 2022. Australia’s team should be selected from the 2021 Geography’s Big Week Out, deferred to January 2022. Here’s hoping that both events can go ahead.

The Australian team is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.