International German Olympics (IDO)

Eban Winner IDO 2020 © Goethe-Institut/Eban Ebssa

Eban Ebssa wins Gold representing the USA at the International German Olympics. She competed on the language level A2 and won the first price. Congrats!

The International German Olympics (short: IDO) is the world’s biggest German language contest. Sign-up is open from September 1, 2021 till October 15, 2021. The first round of the US-preliminaries will take place October 25-31, 2021. The final US-preliminary round will be held at Goethe-Institut Chicago December 3-4, 2021.

IDO world finals 2020

In 2020, the International German Olympics was held August 3–7 with the motto "Be there! – The IDO comes to you." For the first time everything happened online in an innovative virtual format.

More than 120 high school students from over 60 countries had qualified for this year’s IDO finals. From the US Eban, student at Thomas Jeffferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia and Benjamin, student at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts took part.

During the two competition days IDO-participants had to work both on their own and in international teams proving their creativity, German language skills and abilities to work together. Impressions from the tasks and the excellent results can be viewed here.
On Friday in a live-streamed ceremony, the IDO-participants were greeted and honored by German politican Ulla Schmidt, Goethe-Institut representatives Rainer Pollack,  Christopher Veldhues and Dorothea Klenke-Gerdes and IDV general secretary Puneet Kaur. Eban's victory was announced by Dr. Andreas Görgen, head of the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office who also had a chat in German with her. She receives a scholarship for a language course in Dresden next summer.  


After their German teachers signed them up in Fall 2019, 280 students from all over the United States competed in an online round that took place October 15-18, 2019. The 14 best students, seven from each language level (A2 and B1) were then selected to compete in the second preliminary round at Goethe-Institut Chicago.   


On December 6 and 7, 2019, the Goethe-Institut Chicago hosted 14 students from ten different states across the US. They represent the top 5% of German language learners in the US and came from the following 12 high schools:
Language Level A2 Language Level B1
Mt Lebanon High School, PA Mt Lebanon High School, PA
Thomas Jefferson High School, VA Conval High School, NH
New Prague High School, MN Wilson High School, SC
Lincoln Sudbury High School, MA Mahopac High School, NY
Bettendorf High School, IA River Bluff High School, SC
Thomas Jefferson High School, VA Wellesley High School, MA
John Burroughs High School, MO Lincoln East High School, NE

After a short welcome and a trip to the Willis Tower, the competition began. The students had to compete in three rounds in which their reading, writing and speaking skills were assesed by Goethe-Institut Chicago teachers. In the evening, there was time to relax and recooperate. They tried Deep Dish pizza, a Chicago speciality, and visited the famous Christkindl Market
ido usa collage 1 © Goethe-Institut On Saturday morning, the final competition round began: in small groups, they had 60 minutes to prepare a creative interactive presentation (in German, of course!) on a topic not known to them beforehand. They then gave 10 minute-presentations in front of our expert jury consisting of Petra Roggel, Director of the Goethe-Institut Chicago, Colin Benert, Lecturer in Germanistic Studies at University of Chicago, Zach Fitzpatrick, PhD Candidate in Germanic Studies at UIC, Katja Fullard, Head of the Language Department at Goethe-Institut Chicago and Theresa Fuchs, Language Consultant at Goethe-Institut Chicago. 

All presentations were well-prepared, creative and excellent and the jury had a difficult time choosing the best candidates. Taking the total number of points from Day 1 and Day 2 into consideration, Eban and Benjamin came out as the well-deserved winners.
ido usa gewinner collage © Goethe-Institut The Goethe-Institut Chicago would like to thank the jury, the parents and teachers of the participants, and the participants themselves for this fair, exciting competition! Thanks also to IDO-Team Germany for the exciting world finals!