Isabel Lim Yu Tong was only 11 years old when she headed to Italy to compete in an English Language Olympiad, after rounds of exams and months of preparations to become one of the nine Malaysian finalists to take a spot in Rome, competing against students from other countries in September 2022.
“I am not feeling any pressure. I am actually looking forward to making new friends from all over the world,” said Isabel adding that she was always interested in learning English since she was little.
The Sekolah Rendah Seri Presbyterian student said she didn’t anticipate getting this far and credits her fluency to immersing herself in years of reading adventure-fantasy novels like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books.
“I also watch TV shows and my favourite is The Big Bang Theory. I like to observe the way the actors speak.
“I am also not shy about speaking to my classmates and teachers in English,” she said.
The Global Hippo Association, a nonprofit group established in 2012 to promote the importance of English language proficiency and unite young people from various nations, is in charge of coordinating the Olympiad.
This year, 67,748 students from 45 different countries participated in the annual competition’s preliminary round, but only 183 made it to the next round.
Isabel participated in the same competition the previous year but lost in the semifinals. She was quoted to be happy to be able to go to Europe for the first time and for the first time while also representing Johor and Malaysia on the international stage.
She is the only pupil from Johor to head to the Hippo English Language Olympiad this time.
Her parents and a teacher accompanied her on the trip.
“Never did we imagine that our daughter from a small town in Batu Pahat, Johor will be representing the country on the international stage,” said Isabel’s mother Kuo Chiew Yen, a property agent.
“When Isabel did not make it past the semi-final stage last year, we kept motivating her and encouraged her not to give up.”
She stated that the Olympiad would put the top competitors to the test in areas like reading, listening, writing, speaking, and using English (conversation and impromptu). She also thanked Isabel’s school for its assistance and for offering extra classes to help her get ready for the competition.
Correspondingly, Mohamad Aizel Mohamad, the deputy education officer of school management at the Batu Pahat education office, gave Isabel words of encouragement and gave her a token of appreciation.
Registration for the Hippo English Olympiad Competition 2022–2023 has started. The goal of this competition is to test the language competency of children from around the world. https://buff.ly/3QLrNlv https://buff.ly/3A6cv4m