Aine Monk spoke to 17 year old Claire O'Connor of St. Louis High School, Rathmines, who secured a bronze medal in the International Linguistics Olympiad.
17 year old Claire O'Connor of St. Louis High School, Rathmines, secured a bronze medal after scoring above over 180 contestants from 30 countries.
 
I spoke to Claire about her experience.
 
“I did not at all expect to win a bronze medal, as the questions were quite tricky, so I was absolutely thrilled when my name was called as one of the bronze medalists. Six hours well spent, it seems!"
 
The International Linguistics Olympiad challenges second-level students to apply logic and problem-solving skills to solve some of the world’s most complex problems in linguistics and languages. 
 
This year’s Olympiad was held in Mysore, India and saw students from across the globe work their way around maps written in the Aralle-Tabulahan language of Indonesia, try their hand at Luwian Hieroglyphics, and decode expressions in the Iatmül language of Papua New Guinea. 
 
Speaking of her time in India, Claire said, “Most of us were in India for the first time, and getting a taste of its culture was something that brought us all together."
 
Claire was joined on Team Ireland by Dónal Farren of St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and Pádraig Sheehy of Gonzaga College, Ranelagh and Richard Neville of St. Andrew’s College, Booterstown, Dublin. Farren and Sheehy also took home Honourable Mention Awards at the Olympiad.
 
“I was delighted to witness everyone's enthusiasm for linguistics and their drive to figure out the various problems fueled by naught but pure fascination,” explained Claire.
 
The team were selected after their performances at the ADAPT All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) in March 2016. They were chosen from 4,000 students from secondary schools in 29 counties. 
 
Regarding the fun the team had together Claire said, “I wouldn't exchange this opportunity I had to represent Ireland for anything. It was a great honour and was nothing short of phenomenal."
 
AILO is a nationwide initiative offered by the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology which aims to improve the problem-solving skills of people throughout the country.
 
AILO is a key element of ADAPT’s Problem-Solving Initiative (www.problemsolving.ie), a nationwide initiative which aims to enhance the Irish public’s problem-solving skills. 
 
Dublin will act as host for next year’s competition, which will be predominantly held in DCU.
 
“Sharing the experience with people from all over the world was the pinnacle of it all. I'm greatly anticipating Dublin's hosting of next year's International Linguistics Olympiad,” she added.