Thursday morning was marked by the Team contest. The participants had a chance to use their combined linguistics skills and talents to win another trophy for their country, apart from a potential medal from the Individual contest.

As a Bulgarian proverb says, “Two heads think better than one”. That was the essence of the contest on the 23rd – putting your efforts together and matching your moments of genius with those of your teammates.

Another important factor is keeping your cool throughout the entire competition – the last thing you’d need is for FOUR people to start stressing out from being stuck on part of the problem.

Finding your team’s style was also essential for the contest – whether you will split the problem into parts and look at each part altogether or individually, or going through the whole problem as a group. Most of the teams had already practiced solving Team contest problems as part of their preparations for the IOL.

And, of course, having plenty of water (and chocolate) was crucial for the teams’ performance. Volunteers were assigned to each building in order to keep the participants and invigilators restocked on fluids and paper.

After the contest (and the much needed and much deserved lunch), it was lecture and quiz time. First was the lecture by Svetla Koeva on “Language and Consciousness: How Humans and Computers Learn Language”.

And in the evening, one of the traditional IOL events took place – Dragomir Radev’s (leader of one of the United States’ teams) annual Quiz. After a process of selection, the best quizzers were chosen to take part in this Olympiad “game show”. The participants were then put up against one another, against the audience and against some of Drago’s hardest questions.

The Team contest and the IOL Quiz were not only exhausting, yet entertaining, but also examples of how the Olympiad is bringing people together in unimaginable ways. Interaction with other participants is vital for obtaining the entire multicultural IOL experience.

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