The finals of national language contest IlCompetition saw two IES teams take home trophies, and two individual IES students win mother-tongue prizes. In total five IES schools competed in the finals after winning regional contests.
The team from IES Lund won the Spanish competition while IES Sundsvall won the contest in English. Two students from IES Umeå individually won their respective mother-tongue categories, in German and Spanish.
In the nail-biting final to the English competition IES Sundsvall took home the prize after no fewer than three tie-breakers. They beat IES Hässleholm, in second place, and IES Lund, in fourth.
Linus, one of the two students on the winning team from IES Sundsvall (pictured above), said: “I stood up while screaming in glee. Immediately turned to my partner and hugged him. We had won. It is hard to put into words, I was just very, very happy. I would definitely not have won this thing without him. Personally, I think he is actually the better English speaker out of the two of us.”
In order to win Linus and his team-mate Joana had to answer tie breaker questions on English-speaking realia, including how many years have passed since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, how many stars are on the flag of New Zealand and finally in which year the United States of America declared independence.
Linus said: “The most hilarious part was before the competition started, I asked my partner: ‘When did America declare independence?’ That was probably the most clairvoyant thing I have ever said. I doubt we would have won if we hadn’t looked up the answer beforehand.”
The winning team in Spanish was comprised of Sofia and Paula from IES Lund (pictured, right). The Spanish team from Lund also won following the drama of a tie-breaker, consigning IES Liljeholmen to an honourable second-place finish. This is the second time in three years that IES Lund have won the Spanish contest, and prizes including a trip to Spain.
Paula said: “We were pleasantly surprised and extremely happy when we won. Since Spanish is a language that is widely spoken around the world we believe that the knowledge we gained during the competition will be useful in the future, for traveling or working abroad for example.
“Our advice for students thinking about competing in the future is to identify your strengths and combine your knowledge when working together as a team. We worked together by splitting up certain questions between us and discussing the potential answers during the competition.”
IlCompetition is a language and culture contest which aims to enhance students' knowledge of modern foriegn languages. Around 27,000 students throughout Sweden entered the competition.
In order to reach the final, each team needed first to qualify, and then win one of the seven regional finals held around Sweden.
Other IES schools performed well, reaching the national finals. IES Lund came second in the contest for French, after competing against schools including IES Sundsvall. There were also two IES schools in the national final for German, IES Lund and IES Umeå.
The event also includes an individual contest for students who speak one of the languages included as their mother tongue.
This year two students from IES Umeå won their respective mother tongue categories.
Irene won in Spanish, following a family tradition, she said: “It was a fun experience and a good chance to learn more about Hispanic culture in general. I was very happy to find out I had won, since my sister had already won once before me and it's nice that we've both won.”
Meanwhile Constanze, who won in German, said: “ To be honest, I wasn’t even sure about participating the day before qualifications. I’m happy I did though, since it turned out to be a rare chance for me to use my German.
“I was sure not to have any expectations since I didn’t want to get disappointed, so when my teacher told me I won I was genuinely surprised. I felt proud to have kept some of my knowledge about both the German language and Germany itself.”