Meet 11yo Johorean Isabel Lim, who will represent Malaysia at a global English Olympiad held in Rome!

Image credit: Unique English Classroom, Go As ONE

For many Malaysians, we often take one remarkable ability that most of us share for granted: the ability to speak in more than one language. In fact, most of us are capable of speaking more than two languages, and often switch between Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, Tamil, or English, as and when the circumstances require without much incident.

And it is through that ability that we recognise the power of learning a new language, in how it grants us the chance to explore new experiences as well as interact with others on a wider scale, while opening doors to greater professional opportunities too.

11-year-old Johor girl to represent M’sia with 8 other participants at global English Olympiad 

In that vein, 11-year-old Isabel Lim Yu Tong, with her superb proficiency and command of the English language, is set to represent Malaysia alongside eight of her own peers at an English Language Olympiad that will be held in the historic Italian capital of Rome.

Known as the HIPPO English Oympiad 2022, the event is slated to be held from the 28th of September to the 30th of September and was organised by the Global Hippo Association, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting the importance of Englishand collaboration between teachers of the language.

The other students that form the Malaysian contingent include:

  • Tengku Aaliya Qistina Tengku Afrizal from SMK Derma, Perlis
  • Arwena Padme Parameswaran from Kolej Yayasan Saad, Melaka
  • Lim Yong Le from Kolej Matrikulasi Kedah, Kedah
  • Maneesha Akshynie Selvam from SMK Sultan Badlishah, Kedah
  • Sachein Mohananand from SK Taman Bukit Maluri, KL
  • Leerthieka Desanan from SK Bdr Tun Hussein Onn, Selangor
  • Isabelle Joella Thomson from SK Taman Kepong, KL
  • Nuralesha Afreen Muhamad Sharkawi from SMK Puchong Permai, Selangor

Harry Potter & Percy Jackson nurtured a love for the language

In an interview with local newspaper The Star, Isabel credits her fluency in the English language to her affinity for Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books, both of which she admits to being a fan of. And despite the global scale of the competition itself, which will see participants squaring off against students from 50 countries across the world, the enthusiastic 11-year-old remains unfazed.

“I am not feeling any pressure. I am actually looking forward to making new friends from all over the world,” she said.

Having an affinity for learning the English language as a young child, she also admits to being a fan of American sitcom The Big Bang Theory and often takes cues from the actors on the show by observing how they speak.

The Johor-native from Sekolah Rendah Seri Presbyterian had previously entered the same Olympiad last year but was eliminated during the semi-final round. In spite of that initial setback, her zeal for the competition has not been dampened. She had also received a token of appreciation from Batu Pahat deputy education officer of school management, Mohamad Aizel Mohamad, over her achievement.

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Also read: These 6 young M’sian scientists will represent the nation at the 71st Nobel Laureate meeting in Germany!

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