Dear IGC Geographers, Families, and Supporters,

It’s IGC week! Another email will go out on July 10/11 that will have all the details on when and where to check in on the 12th or the 13th. That said, for those of you itching to know, check-in will be at the host school (GRG 23) from 2pm-9pm on the 12th, and from 11am-9pm on the 13th. It will also reopen at 7:30am-8:30am on the 14th, but that’s ONLY if you really can’t make it to the school on either of the two main check in days. It’s OK if you are coming to Budapest and can’t check in for IGC because you are arriving very late on the 12th, but you MUST email us once you arrive in Vienna to let us know you’ve made it.

For now, here’s also what you need to know:

1. Hard Deadlines for Event Sign Ups / Scramble Reminder / Symposium Reminder

The deadline for the Scramble and Symposium signups is 11:59pm PDT (Los Angeles time) on July 9. For the Scramble, use the Scramble Sign Up form here. For the Symposium, please send your paper to igc@iacompetitions.com 

Neither of these will have any exceptions to this deadline! 

And moreover, any Schedule Change request, per the Schedule Change Form is at this point not guaranteed, and after July 9 at 11:59pm PDT will almost certainly be denied. So if you have to change anything, please do it before then! Schedule changes at IGC itself are not permitted, unless explicitly mentioned in an announcement (but don’t count on this happening at all). 

Note that our team is in the process of putting together one document with all the events for which you signed up as a convenient way to check your schedule. This will be available by the time you check in at IGC.

2. Health Form Reminder

Please don’t forget to fill in the IGC Health Form here if you haven’t already done so. As a reminder,  this is a requirement prior to completing check-in and being able to compete in any IGC event.

3. Laptop Reminder

Please use the form here by July 9  if you are a High School Division Student and will need to borrow a laptop for use at IGC, though if you have your own or access to one from your parent or guardian, that is preferable. If you do not have your own laptop and if you don’t fill in the form, then we won’t have a laptop for you.

4. Updates on Rules for Various Events

  1. Geoguessr

-Geoguessr will be done with our staff showing the images on a laptop, like we do in the Visual Geography Bee. Therefore, you do not need to bring your laptop or cell/mobile phone for it, nor do you need a Geoguessr subscription.

-Come prepared to recognize and decipher photos and images, and then we will measure your guesses to the nearest spot on the map.

-Geoguessr is not a buzzer-based event.

  1. Scavenger Hunt 

-The Scavenger Hunt this coming Sunday is open to all families! You do not need to be a participant in the Family and Friends program to participate. 

-Unaccompanied students will play in their own division with our staff supervising them.

-The Scavenger Hunt does not require a sign up. 

-The Scavenger Hunt rules will be announced at the Opening Meeting, but…

-Please make sure your phones are with you and fully charged before setting off on the Scavenger Hunt! Pack your charger as needed – we’ll leave right from the school.

  1. Simulations

-Remember that assignments are posted here both for the Congress of Vienna and OPEC Simulations here.

-Please review the way OPEC works if you are in that simulation, and come prepared to defend your country’s position as to how to react to the world oil and energy markets! And have some questions ready to go for the OPEC tour – this is a super cool experience if you’re a part of it!

-For the Congress of Vienna, don’t forget props, period attire or accessories, and remember to be familiar with Europe in 1814-15 and especially your country’s position in it. 

-Bringing notes, books, resources, and anything that is written in advance is permitted and encouraged; laptops are not. Mobile phones are allowed for OPEC, not for the Congress of Vienna (but even if you sneak a peak, it’s not really going to help you here anyway).

-The location for the simulations will be the Almhütte (an alpine-style cabin in the heart of Vienna!) which is part of the Stiegl-Ambulanz restaurant. The address is Alser Strasse 4, 1090 Wien.

-The simulations are not open to spectators, but will end precisely on time, so parents can plan on picking their children up then.

5. Weather Update

It looks like it is going to be pretty hot (upper 80’s-low 90’s Fahrenheit; 28-32 Celsius for high temperatures), but not unbearingly so. Please remember that the school does not have air conditioning. There might also be thunderstorms, so pack accordingly. 

6. Budapest Trip Update

We will be meeting at Westbahnhof (NOT THE HOST SCHOOL!!!) for the Budapest trip. The buses will depart at 7:30. Please plan on arriving between 7 and 7:15am!

The next email will have your bus assignments and exact location of where to meet the buses. 

Also, it’s a 3.5-4 hour drive both there and back. We had a meeting with our 10 Hungarian tour guides today, and they unanimously recommended a plan that will a) allow us to see more of the city  b) stay on the air-conditioned buses more than we had originally thought which is good because it’s supposed to be 95 Fahrenheit / 35 Celsius on Saturday, but c) won’t be visiting the museum as time doesn’t permit it with such a large group. We are planning the exact route over the next few days to allow you to see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time.

We will have some games and battery-operated buzzers for the buses in addition to the Hungarian Geography Exam, and possibly some videos to watch. But feel free to bring a book, your study notes, small games, etc. And don’t forget sunscreen and your filled up water bottle!

7. Live Updates

We will be communicating important updates (things like schedule changes) through two different methods:

A) A whatsapp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/JPvgTqUIIGeA7YXlBabDWV 

Please note that this group will only be used to make announcements and that you will not be able to post in it. 

B) A google doc: tinyurl.com/igcupdates

8. The IGC Guide to Vienna 

(which will be continually added to over the coming days)

The IGC Guide to Vienna, linked here, (but please bookmark it!) includes for now:

-Restaurant Recommendations

  Food Options 1: Places Near the Host School (GRG 23)

We have listed places near the host school where you can get food (in particular, lunch). We recommend, in particular, the Interspar which is the supermarket with quite a few different counters, a sit down restaurant inside, and plenty of pre-made options (sushi, sandwiches, salads, etc.). Though if there is a sandwich shop or other similar restaurant near your hotel / hostel / Airbnb, etc., bringing your own sandwich / lunch isn’t a bad idea either. We recommend you eat breakfast before coming towards the school, but there are bakeries within a 5 minute walk in case you get hungry.

Food Options 2: Restaurants Elsewhere in Vienna

We’ve spent a lot of time making plans for IGC over the past year, and we have come to know restaurants in Vienna at all price points very well. We have listed some of our favorites, but there are numerous options beyond this of course too!

-Reading and Viewing Recommendations

-Other Things To Do in Vienna (aside from what we are organizing for IGC)

-What to Bring (as mentioned in a prior email)

Okay, that’s all for now. Expect the next update email on July 10/11! That will include the following (among other things):

-Further Check In information and details 

-Bus Assignments and exactly when and where to meet for the Budapest tour.

-Last reminders

Best regards,

David and Nolwenn Madden



Dear IGC Geographers, Families, and Supporters,

We’re just a week away from the first check-in day (for those going to Budapest)! Another email that will go out in a few days time (on July 8/9), and then another on July 10/11 that will have all the details on when and where to check in. But for now, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Scramble Topic and Sign Up Form

We’ve heard lots of guesses on this: other Austrian cities, Liechtenstein, and other much farther-flung locales. But this year’s IGC Scramble won’t be on any one specific geographic location, but rather about a certain type of location. One of these locations, in fact, will be the location of the Scramble Finals on the evening of Sunday, July 14. The 2024 IGC Scramble topic is…

Theme and Amusement Parks Around the World! 

And the final matches will be not only played in the famous Wiener Prater amusement park on Sunday night but inside the carriages of its iconic Ferris Wheel or RiesenradPlease sign up for the Scramble if you wish to compete, as soon as possible, using the Scramble Sign Up form here

Sign ups for the Scramble will close at 11:59pm PDT (Los Angeles time) on July 9. The next email (which will go out on July 8/9) will have a reminder for this, but this is a hard deadline, so please do not delay in signing up if you wish to compete!

For everyone else, the special Evening Activity on the Opening Night (as posted here on the schedule), is simply a chance to go to the Prater if you wish and enjoy the park. Note that there is no admission to the park, but rather the rides and attractions are just paid for a la carte. We will cover the Ferris Wheel costs for the students who make the finals in each age division; for everyone else, you’re welcome to do as many or as few attractions as you wish, but you would need to pay for those on your own. Note that if you’re still contending with jet lag or want to do something different, that’s certainly fine – we’ll go back as a group to the Prater on the final evening after the Closing Ceremonies wrap up. Neither visit to the Prater (either on July 14 or 20) requires sign up or Family and Friends Program registration – the Prater is open to everyone.

  1. Health Form Reminder

Please don’t forget to fill in the IGC Health Form here if you haven’t already done so. As mentioned in the last email, this is a requirement prior to completing check-in and being able to compete in any IGC event.

  1. Contact Form Reminder

If you’re interested in being put in touch with others from your state or country or region who are going to Vienna, one last reminder to fill in this form. We’ll get in touch with everyone tomorrow who has filled in this form, and who has at least one other affiliation teammate coming. Note that we’ll be sharing emails and phone numbers so if that concerns you for privacy reasons, then please don’t fill this out, as that’s the whole point of this exercise.

  1. Symposium Reminder

If you are competing in the High School Division, and wish to submit a paper for consideration in the Symposium contest, the deadline for this is the same as for the Scramble sign ups (i.e. 11:59 pm PDT on July 9). Please send your paper to igc@iacompetitions.com 

  1. Meet the IGC Staff!

There are 49 IGC General Staff members and 20 IGC Adjunct Staff (i.e. parents and others who will be helping on the larger field trips and with the larger buzzer events). They will make all of the competitions, field trips, and geographic fun at IGC possible: many thanks to all of them for their hard work so far with all the preparations! You can get to know your IGC General Staff (if you’ve come to IAC championship-level events before, you’ll recognize some familiar faces) through the Meet the Staff page on the website, which has now been added here. Additional staff photos and bios will be added on a continual basis between now and the start of IGC.

  1. Laptop Sign Up

Please use the form here if you are a High School Division Student and will need to borrow a laptop for use at IGC, though if you have your own or access to one from your parent or guardian, that is preferable. Only High School Division students (for the GIS competition) need a laptop. Students competing in the Geoguessr competition will need a device that can show images and connect to the internet, but that can be a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. In any case, for that event, we will not be providing laptops for competing students, though you are welcome to use one if you bring one or are borrowing one from your parent / guardian.

Please do not fill out the form just to tell us you don’t need a laptop: only those who need a laptop should fill this out. Note that this is the same form (just a different question) on it as the Scramble sign up form.

  1. Teachers and Coaches at IGC

If you are attending IGC and are a teacher or coach who has either been active in overseeing the participation of your students in any International Academic Competitions event (i.e. not just IGC) OR if you are a teacher or coach and are considering doing this for the 2024-25 season, please email david@iacompetitions.com as soon as you read this to let us know, as we will have a special surprise gift for you at IGC! This is just for those who are overseeing the participation of either their students in school or, in the case of coaches who aren’t teachers, students who are not only their own children, but from other families as well.

Okay, that’s all for now. Expect the next update email on July 8! That will include the following (among other things):

-Information on final hard deadlines for event sign ups

-Our favorite restaurant recommendations in Vienna

-Restaurants near the school

-Update on rules and preparation for certain events

-Some articles on Vienna and reading / viewing recommendations

Best regards,

David and Nolwenn Madden


Dear Geographers, Families, and Friends of IGC,

We’re less than two weeks away from the start of all the fun in Vienna! You can expect more frequent (and shorter) update emails between now and then, so that we can keep you posted on everything you need to know. Here then is your IGC news for July 1 (or July 2, depending on what part of the planet you’re in):
1. Health Form – REQUIRED 
Please find the 2024 IGC Health and Medical Form linked here. Filling this out is a requirement for participation at IGC, regardless of whether you are coming with your parents or not (as there will be cases when parents are not in the room, for instance, during exams). It will help us tremendously if you can fill this out as soon as possible, but please note that you will not be able to complete check in and be able to compete in any IGC event until we have received this form.
2. Assignments for Simulations and Urban Planning Task Force
Assignments have been made for the Simulations – both the Congress of Vienna and OPEC Simulations are available here. If you applied for the Congress of Vienna and did not receive a spot, we apologize, as we had many very strong applications and it was not possible to accommodate everyone. We increased to the maximum possible size of 17 students where we could from the initial 15 we had anticipated, but that was as far as we were able to increase.
For the Urban Planning Task Force, city assignments have been made and are found here. Note that we are still happy to add students in the Intermediate and in particular in the Elementary Division for that event.
Elementary Division students: with just 6 students currently registered, this is a great chance to put yourself on the medals podium, as well as a great way to put your geography skills to use in a setting that reflects how that is done in real world situations!
3. Adding Events
Speaking of adding events, if you wish to continue to add multiple choice exams, that’s fine for now. Field trips are solely on a case by case basis depending on availability. For other competitions, in most cases, we can still add you, though we cannot make guarantees at this point (the Urban Planning Task Force, for example, is no longer accepting sign ups for the Middle School Division). If you wish to add events, please continue to use the Schedule Change Form.
Note that it will get increasingly difficult to add events, so if you wish to do so, please do this as soon as possible. It is particularly important that anyone (including Friends and Family Extended Option participants) who is going to Budapest or Bratislava and wishes to do the Hungarian and/or Slovak Geography Exams fills out the Schedule Change Form to add those exams in the next 24 hours if you haven’t yet done so!
And for those of you who haven’t filled in your Event Selection Forms at all, this is yet another reminder to do that as soon as possible! Those are linked here as needed; be sure to fill in the correct one for your age division!
4. Reopening Bratislava and Budapest Trips
We are delighted to announce that both the Budapest and Bratislava trips have now been reopened! For a limited time (i.e. until we hit our bus capacity), you and your family members can sign up for either or both of these trips if you haven’t yet done so. The Budapest trip is on July 13 and lasts all day. The Bratislava trip is on July 16 and is during the afternoon. Please use the Add a Trip Form to sign up for either or both of these. If you need to check if you are on our list, please check the Budapest Trip List here and the Bratislava Trip List here.
Each trip has an optional exam open only to students going on each trip: the Hungarian Geography Exam for the Budapest trip and the Slovak Geography Exam for the Bratislava trip. Use the Schedule Change Form to add those if interested, but again, please do so as soon as possible!
5. Connecting with your Affiliation Teammates / List of Students by Affiliation
A list of all students sorted by affiliation and age division is now available here. This file (on its other tabs) will ultimately be used to determine team formation but that won’t be done until around July 11 to allow for any changes on the competing students list to be reflected.
Note that some months ago we had put out a form to fill out if you wished to be connected with your teammates prior to IGC, though few families took us up on that then. If you’d like to be connected with your teammates prior to IGC to strategize, find others to plan excursions with, or for any other valid reason, please fill out the form here as soon as you can.
6. Payments / Visas
As a reminder, no students will be able to take part in IGC until and unless payment has been received in full. In an extreme case, we can accept cash (in US dollars or euros) in Vienna, but we recommend paying by the usual check or wire transfer methods. We are not assessing late fees, and for students waiting on visa decisions, please hold off on submitting payments until you have received your visa or not. But that said, if you don’t have visa issues, and you know you are coming to Vienna, and you haven’t paid, please do so as soon as possible: the official deadline was two days ago…
7. Name, Affiliation, and Division Check
How you want us to list your name on all official IGC communications and results is up to you, but you need to decide on one version. We know that in some cultures, family names are often listed first. That’s fine by us, but in any case, the way that we are listing you is currently how your name is listed on the Official Competing Students List. If you wish to change how your name is listed, please email david@iacompetitions.com as soon as you can. 
We will also create a list for all Family and Friends Extended Option Participants by the time the next email goes out to verify your names and affiliations there too.
Please also check to make sure that your desired affiliation is listed there as well. If you need advice on how to verify which country or US state you can compete for, see the relevant text on the FAQ page.
Also, one final reminder to make sure you are listed in the correct age division: anyone in North America in 5th or 6th grade this past school year, for example, needs to compete in the Intermediate Division! The full age division criteria is also found on the FAQ page.
8. General Guide
We know that there has been a lot of information contained within these emails which is a bit difficult to sift through. Fear not: we’ll be putting together a supplemental guide with all the information you’ll need in Vienna that’s been contained in these emails. That will then be uploaded to the website in advance of IGC to complement the information that has been there for some time.
9. Historical Geography Bee: Now with Friends and Family!
Note that the Friends and Family program did not originally include participation in the Historical Geography Bee, but this was listed on the Event Selection Form. As such, we will have a FFP competition in this event as well, but as the Event Selection deadline has passed, this is only open to those who had signed up for it prior to the deadline; we are not taking any further sign ups for FFP for this event. Study hard! This will have lots of tough questions on the intersection of history and geography.
10. Next Email
The next email will come no later than July 5 (if you are in North America) / July 6 if you are in Europe or Asia or elsewhere. There will in any case be an email that day which will reveal the Scramble topic, and have the sign up for that event too. It’s a great topic, and we have a special twist in store which we’ll reveal then as well!
That email (or one prior) will also have reading recommendations, some updated study guides and tips, restaurant recommendations (both near the school and in Vienna as a whole), a sign up form for laptops for those who need one, and more fun IGC details to peruse.
Until then, good studying, and greetings from Bad Schandau, Germany (scouting for the post-IGC Central Europe Tour!),
David and Nolwenn Madden