A 16-year-old Otumoetai student is off to Serbia, after being placed as one of the top four geography students in New Zealand.

Sarah Hyne won a position at the International Geography Olympiad in Serbia next August.

Sarah said she was excited" about the trip, but had held off telling her friends until recently.

"I kept it quiet that I was going in case I didn't get in so I didn't tell them. They were a bit shocked."

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Sarah entered an essay-writing competition open to those taking geography at secondary school.

She was one of 12 students invited to Wellington, where the list of contenders was narrowed down to four.

"In Wellington they did a similar test to what is going to be done at the Olympiad," she said.

There will be a four-hour written test and a multi-choice test where they see pictures of countries or locations and have to choose where it is from.

Her fellow New Zealand teammates are from Auckland, Christchurch and Kerikeri.

The geography enthusiast is looking forward to exploring Serbia and learning about other places through her studies.

"[Geography] is just relevant to what is actually happening in the world, you learn about what is happening and how people are trying to solve things like climate change and urban problems."

Sarah will need to raise about $4500 for her trip, but has not yet decided what sort of fundraising ventures she will be doing.