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A KILMORE International student with a passion for geography has been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) in Belgrade, Serbia.

Sugarloaf Creek resident and Year 12 student, Madeleine Lezon was chosen following her outstanding performance in Geography’s Big Week Out at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland last December.

The Geography Big Week Out is an intensive six-day residential program with challenging geographical activities, which focuses on fieldwork, spatial technologies and analytical skills.

Madeleine was one of 16 students selected to attend from more than 66,000 students who participated in the annual Geography Competition.

Madeleine and the rest of the Australian team, Christian Flynn from Canberra Grammar, Teale Lyon from St Mary’s Anglican Girls School in Perth and Isaac Tennant from St Peter’s College in Adelaide, will compete at the International Geography Olympiad from August 2 to 8, 2017.

The iGeo competition is a highly contested one-week challenge for the best 16 to 19-year-old geography students from all over the world.

The olympiad is an excellent opportunity to showcase the geographical skills and understandings of a country’s geography students, as well as a reward for student excellence.

All the costs of participating in the competitions are covered by the organisers, Australian Geography Teachers Association and the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, as well as competition supporters. Currently undertaking the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, Madeleine said the whole process is very exciting.

“I was not expecting it at all. I was very surprised when I got the email a month and a half ago saying I had been selected,” Madeleine said.

“I was very excited; I wasn’t expecting it all. There were 16 people and they were all very outgoing. I’m still excited; I’ve never been to Europe before.”

Madeleine is looking forward to travelling abroad and challenging herself while getting the opportunity to make connections with students from all over the world.

“I should hopefully get a seven for geography (for the IB). It will be great learning new skills and meeting new people,” Madeleine said explained the benefits of the trip on her future.

“I also hear it’s a good thing on your university resume, to have completed in an olympiad. I want to work in development and human rights so this is a great experience for me.”

Australian Geography Competition coordinator, Bernard Fitzpatrick said that the Australian and international competitions help enthuse students about geography as it’s important that young people want to study the subject.

“The structured way of understanding the world that geography gives us is vital if we are to develop innovative responses to issues such as climate change, food security, land degradation or population shifts, as well as contribute to economic development,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

Madeleine thanked her family and The Kilmore International School, including teachers Mr Osborne, Mr Pharoah and Ms Santarossa for their support.