You might have heard of it because of the name dispute, prior knowledge or only because there was a chance to win a free trip to it at IGC. You also might not have heard about it. But regardless of whether you knew about it or not, North Macedonia is a destination worth being on any traveler’s bucket list. Hidden within the Balkans it has a wealth of history, culture and landscapes packed into a country smaller than the US state of Massachuttes. From ancient ruins from former empires to the sights of lake Ohrid to the streets and vendors of Skopje, there is something for every traveler.

After hearing about the sights of North Macedonia, how would you like to travel there? How about for free? Well that’s what Zachary Turinsky from New Jersey won by scoring first overall in the country exam. The country exam consisted of a 100 question test about all aspects of a country, in this case North Macedonia, with the overall top scorer winning a 5 day all expenses paid trip to the said country. Scoring for the exam was 2 points for a correct answer, -1 for an incorrect one and 0 for any answer left blank. Zachary managed to get first with a score of 145, well above everyone else.

This impressive feat was accomplished by similarly impressive studying. He used a book and wikipedia articles to review information about North Macedonia. He also memorized all 89 municipalities, which sounds rather incredible.

While studying Zachary also learned some fun facts about the place he would be going to; such as the fact that its second largest city was once known for its counsels. He explained that “ They had had 50 or higher number of consuls from all over Europe and at one point it was called the city of consuls.” 

Despite all this studying, Zachary expected the exam to be a challenge. With 100 questions he thought many of the questions to be on very specific aspects.  Because of this his win came as an unexpected, but welcome shock to him. All that studying paid off in the end!

When asked what he was looking into, there was one clear answer, Lake Ohrid. “When i was researching i just saw lake ohrid and it was just such a beautiful lake and such a beautiful place and I’m very excited.” Zachary also wanted to visit Tetovo, the center of the prominent Albanian minority in the country. Let us wish Zachary a safe and a smooth trip in the future as he represents IAC and New Jersey in North Macedonia.

Justin Huang
High School 
North Carolina