Trekking through a tropical rainforest to conduct fieldwork observations is an unconventional way to celebrate completing your HSC Trail examinations. However, it is an adventure that has led to an exceptional result for Meriden student Jasmine Ye, who won a silver medal for Australia at the 2023 International Geography Olympiad in Bundang, Indonesia.
The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) serves as an annual arena for the finest geography students from across the globe. Handpicked from a pool of thousands of enthusiastic participants in their respective National Geography Olympiads, the students selected to represent their nations are the cream of the crop.
Jasmine competed as part of a four-member team against the brightest young geographers in the world. Having concluded her HSC Trial examinations a day prior to her departure, Jasmine faced a tight schedule to prepare for the international competition.
“I felt the pressure of not only representing Australia well academically but also representing our culture and people,” she said.
“Winning a silver medal came as a huge surprise. I really was not expecting much from the competition, so I tried to take the pressure off myself by focusing on making memories and friends.”
The iGeo encompasses a trio of components: a written assessment, a multimedia challenge and extensive fieldwork demanding acute observation skills. Complementing these rigorous tasks are team-based poster presentations, enriching cultural exchanges and ample opportunities for students to acquaint themselves with peers and delve into the wonders of the host city.
The most demanding challenge for Jasmine proved to be the eight-hour fieldwork, which thoroughly tested her physical and mental endurance.
“The fieldwork examination was definitely the most tiring and challenging. It was a mix of orienteering, physical and human geography. We visited three sites to conduct testing and in between the sites, we were asked to make observations about land use and the impacts of tourism,” said Jasmine.
Team Australia secured fifth place overall and earned four medals: a gold, two silvers and a bronze.
For Jasmine, this once-in-a-lifetime experience has deepened her appreciation for both geography and the environment.
“The experience of being in the company of fellow geographers has enabled me to view the natural and urban world around me with greater analytical insight and perceptiveness. It was amazing to witness Indonesia’s unique landscapes, particularly its volcanoes. It has made me much more appreciative of natural landscapes,” said Jasmine.
Currently, the Year 12 student is focused on completing her final HSC examinations.
“Studying Geography has provided me with a great interdisciplinary approach to understanding the world around me. I am particularly interested in politics and advocacy. In the future, I would love to work in helping inform government policy on issues that I am passionate about, such as climate change, environmental conservation and improving quality of life in disadvantaged areas,” said Jasmine.