Internationale Deutscholympiade Winner from the UK

Level B2 Winners IDO
Level B2 Winners IDO | © Goethe-Institut

‘The memories for which I'm most grateful […] come from the countless conversations over breakfast or before bed, in which nobody ever seemed to remember that we were a group of people from Britain, Israel, Senegal, the Lebanon, and so on- we were just friends, talking in the one language we all share. German allowed us not only to speak to each other, but also to listen- and I'm so unbelievably thankful for all that I learned.’
 

The Internationale Deutscholympiade (German Language Olympics), short IDO, is the world’s biggest German language contest, taking place every two years. It aims to spark young people’s interest in the German language and to open doors for them to German science, culture and business.
 
In 2016, the IDO brought together 125 young German learners from 64 different countries in Berlin for two weeks. Here they entered into a competition to become the best German learner at their level!
 
The IDO is initiated by the Goethe-Institut and the International Teachers Association.
 
We are thrilled that one of the 2016 winners is Tara Beatrice Kilcoyne (18 years) from the UK. Here she writes for us about her experience at the IDO:
 
 
Tara Beatrice Kilcoyne Tara Beatrice Kilcoyne | © Goethe-Institut 'During the summer, I was lucky enough to be one of two German A Level students chosen to represent Great Britain at the Internationale Deutscholympiade 2016 in Berlin, organised by the Goethe-Institut. There, we would live, work and explore the city with 125 other students from 64 countries around the world- so not intimidating at all...
 
Our trip began as we stepped off the plane at Berlin Tegel airport, and on to a coach filled with more languages than I had ever heard in my life. This, of course, didn't stop the immediate bonding over mutual exhaustion and anticipation, as we pulled up to the youth hostel that would be our living, working, and occasionally partying centre for the next two weeks.

The programme kicked off with a series of workshops in drama, creative writing and presentation skills, designed to ease us into the practical aspects of the competition itself. These were a wonderful opportunity for forming new friendships, and getting rid of any inhibitions with hilarious drama games. The competition itself was made up of three sections: a poster based on material collected during a trip into Berlin, a themed group presentation, and finally, an unprepared exercise that required considerable creativity (and very strong nerves!). Despite the fact that we were being judged by a jury who were as international as we were ourselves, these activities (almost) never felt stressful. The outings into Berlin, which we joined according to personal interest, allowed us to discover areas and qualities of the city that we'd never otherwise experience, such as the hidden yet fascinating Mauerpark, whilst the group activities were just an excuse for all of our overactive imaginations to be taken seriously. And at the end of it all, I was shocked (no, really shocked) to learn that I'd been awarded third place in my category, B2, which was one of the most wonderful and surreal experience of my life, given that the ceremony took place at the Foreign Office!

Of course, it wasn't all work and no play (if you can count colouring in with friends as work). One of my personal highlights of the trip was the international evening, in which each student had the opportunity to share the richness of the culture they represented. That is, every student, save the two of us from Britain, who decided that a skit about Brexit was the way to go. I'm still telling myself that they were laughing with us, not at us... Also deserving of a special mention are the wonderful discos and exclusive Tonbandgerät concert that were put on for us, which essentially turned into a global version of Eurovision, and let us all walk away with broadened musical perspectives, and that one Ohrwurm from the Netherlands stuck in your ear...
 
But the memories for which I'm most grateful don't come from the workshops, or the discos, or even the ferry trip down the Spree on the last day. They come from the countless conversations over breakfast or before bed, in which nobody ever seemed to remember that we were a group of people from Britain, Israel, Senegal, the Lebanon, and so on- we were just friends, talking in the one language we all share. German allowed us not only to speak to each other, but also to listen- and I'm so unbelievably thankful for all that I learned.'