DEERHILL EXPEDITIONS, the Southwest Journey trip
Soubie Im ’15
Deerhill Expeditions was the highlight of my summer. This 25 day program was filled with adventure and exciting activities. For the first week of the program, my instructors took us to the Green River in Moab, Utah where we white water rafted for seven nights, eight days. Traveling in five different paddle boats (two of them being kayaks), we spent the week rafting through class three rapids and also enjoying the beautiful canyons of Utah. The next couple of days were spent helping a Native American group called the Hopi prepare for their annual rain festival. This was when the Kachinas, or spirits, came to perform a dance ritual and to pray for rain. We not only got to see the spirits dance but also interact with the lovely and very kind members of the Hopi community, especially the kids! The last portion of the trip consisted of three days mountain biking, which was quite the adventure since the trails were only made out of rocks and dirt, and also 3 days hiking and rock climbing.
I chose to spend three weeks at this program because not only did it sound and look incredibly fun but because it was something different. I’ve never done rafting or rock climbing before Deerhill and so it was a great learning experience for me. And it was great to see the Hopi people and learn about a completely different culture than my own. That is why I would recommend this program to
Joshua Kim ‘15
PROMYS is short for Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists. It is a 6-week program in mathematics that takes place in BU during the summer. All first-year students take a course in number theory. There is a lecture every weekday from 9:00 to 10:30 am, and after lecture every day we get a problem set for us to solve for that day. It is really not like homework assignments for math class. The problem sets contain problems that are so much more thought-provoking. Even spending all day long with one problem set is not enough to solve the problem set.
But anyway, the lectures are given by Prof. Glenn Stevens, a professor in mathematics in BU. Students also get to participate, though this is optional, in a research lab. They will research and investigate certain topics like:
-counting rational numbers
-linear diophantine equations
-pythagorean triples and sums of squares
and they will present a presentation and a formally written paper at the end of the program.
To me the program was very rewarding. If I had a chance to go back as a second-year student, I definitely would. (There is also a separate program for second-year students where they get to take courses in more advances mathematics, such as geometry/symmetry and abstract algebra.) I loved being able to talk about math with students from all over the country. After lecture we would sit down at a table and spend all day solving problems together. It was like we were discovering new things.
Annette Bell ‘16
My name is Annette and I did the Summer Transition program at Phillips Academy. I loved meeting other people including ones that were going to be in the same grade as me. Everyone was so sweet and helpful. The Transition Program is a program for about 15 people (at least it was 15 for me) were you have all of your classes with the people that will be in your grade next year. You should go to this program so you can build some relationships before you get to school. Of course you'll meet people when you get to Andover, but it is always nice to have someone there in your corner. I learned to speak up in class. I'm pretty quiet if you don't know me so it is very helpful to speak up in a kind and respectful way. Another thing I learned is to be yourself. I know that sounds cliché but it's true. Someone will always be looking at you whether its good or bad. If you be yourself and only worry about your friends and family then the others will go about there day and leave you alone. I loved this program and would do it all over again if I had the chance!
NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY
New York Film Academy is a summer program that teaches students 14-17 a myriad of film related subjects; from acting, to lighting, to digital and old film. The locations of this summer program vary from places such as Harvard University, Universal Studios, Paris, and Australia. The program has weeklong programs, as well as whole month programs, dedicated to improving ones knowledge and passion for film.
I attended the program located at Harvard University around late July. There, I was able to film my own short stories, learn about scriptwriting, and even hold, and use, a genuine film camera. Guest speakers and even some teachers at this summer school are widely known, you never know who you might run into at this camp. For instance, my editing teacher had edited videos for high fashion companies such as Vogue, or Seventeen Magazine. Additionally, one of my scriptwriting teachers has sold one of his scripts to the famous director, Oliver Stone. The students that boarded there, (I was a day student), are exceedingly sociable and knowledgable, and I have learned an immense amount of film knowledge from my peers as well.
THE CAMBRIDGE SCHOLARS PROGRAM
Eric Meyers ’13
This three-week program offers an ideal blend of excellent academics and outstanding day trips. Centered at Newnham College, one of the 31 residential colleges that comprise the University of Cambridge, this program drew top high school students from America and Britain last summer. These students lived in single rooms and took two to three courses from an extensive curriculum of seventeen classes. Every Wednesday and Saturday, the program took exciting day trips. At the end of the Cambridge session, there was an optional trip to Paris. The program cost $6,400 for the Cambridge portion and $1,400 for the Paris option. Daily lunch and dinner at Newnham College, airport transfers, most afternoon activities, and the day trips were included. Lunch, dinner on day-trips, spending money, and flights to London Heathrow were extra. Scholarships were available.
I enthusiastically recommend this program. Jeremy Coulon – the program’s director – is a great guy. The classes were good; Newnham College is beautiful; Cambridge is spectacular; and the accommodations were nice. The food was not uniformly stellar, but students are free to eat lunch in Cambridge. Afternoon activities include rowing on the River Cam as well as choir, and drama. Evenings are filled with fun parties, a masquerade, Scottish dancing (Ceilidh), performances, sports, a movie, and even a formal ball. Best of all, were the wonderful day trips. There were four excursions to London that included visits to the British Museum, the Tate Modern, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament, a sunset ride on the London Eye, and a dinner cruise on the Thames. There were also great day trips to Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, the Cathedral of Ely, and the royal house at Sandringham. It was an amazing program!
Poonam Kambar ‘14
This program is a three week program that includes courses and fun at Newnham College at the University Of Cambridge. For three weeks, students attend daily classes, in the courses which they choose. Classes range from The String Theory to Debate to Villains in Literature. CSP has a variety of classes to offer that allow each student to extend their knowledge in a subject which they love or to try something completely new! However, the program is not purely academic. Every evening there would be some fun activity planned from movie nights to dances. On Wednesdays and weekends, there are field trips. The entire group would go into London or other areas of interest to do some extensively planned sightseeing. We visited many museums, cathedrals, art galleries and explored different areas of the city. This year was special because we got to be amidst the excitement of the 2012 London Olympics. We even got to attend an Olympic football (soccer) match. There is so much to see and learn in those short three weeks.
I really enjoyed this program. I took three classes, Law, Criminal and Forensic Psychology, and Mind Games. The instructors are all very knowledgable in their subjects and enjoy teaching which makes the classes even more fun. The best part is that the program is not only about academics. There is so much packed into every bit of free time outside of classes. You can choose from different afternoon activities such as rowing, fencing, singing in chorus or even acting in a play. On top of that, there are so many events planned for each night. There never is a night where something fun isn't going on. Also, you can finish all of your sightseeing in this trip. We visited all the staple tourist attractions such as the London Eye, Stonehenge, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and lots of other exciting places too. This part of the program is really what made me want to attend. Not only was CSP academically stimulating but it also provided the necessary fun to balance it all out, which is perfect for a summer program.
I learned about the program from the Summer Opportunities Office last school year.
The one on the steps is of the entire program when we visited St. Paul's Cathedral and the other picture is of my Law class.
HARVARD SUMMER SCHOOL
Jenna Shin ’14
The Harvard Secondary School Program (SSP) is a seven-week program for rising high school juniors and seniors who want a short experience of college life and classes. Students can take classes that are not generally available at high schools and even earn college credit for them. Generally, two four-credit courses are taken, but students can also take the heavier workload of one eight-credit course. The SSP students have access to Harvard’s amazing campus, including the Widener Library and high-tech labs for science courses, as well as being able to work with faculty members of the school. Throughout the program, there are also college fairs, speakers, sports, trivia bowls, dances, language tables, tutoring programs, trips to colleges and Boston, as well as talks from the Harvard admission staff and students that the summer school students can attend. High school students from all over the world attend, and it is a great experience to meet new people with different cultural backgrounds.
My experience with the Harvard SSP program was a memorable one. I took an eight-credit course Introductory Biology course that provided me with access to amazing laboratories and the ability to interact with the professors, who had an abundance of knowledge to share with the class. I experienced what a college class in the typical lecture hall with about a hundred other students is like and how I would receive help from the professors in such a large class in which it was near impossible for the teachers to know everyone. It was intimidating to work in class and in labs with some students who were much older than I am that were part of the undergraduate program, but they provided valuable advice to me on how I could study, especially in groups, manage my time, and receive help from the supportive tutoring office for all students in the secondary school program. I have learned so much from this past summer, not only about the academics of the subject I took, but also about how to live college life in general. My three roommates who I shared a suite with were from a wide range of places and spoke many different languages, including Ukrainian, French, German, and Chinese, and my proctor provided hall parties and gatherings where we were able to bond with each other and share stories. The Harvard SSP program provided advanced academics, the college experience, and the chance to meet such a diverse group of people. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone who wishes to experience a small taste of college over the summer.
I learned of this program through other students who had experienced this program in previous years, and also I received more information about the program online and through the summer programs fair at Andover.
PA SUMMER SESSION
Katie Graber ‘16
Hi my name is Katie Graber and I participated in the animation and intensive algebra review courses during summer session 2012. I already new about the program because I am a faculty kid on campus (my dad works in admissions and as the varsity baseball coach). Here are my thoughts on the courses I took:
Animation was awesome! i had a wonderful time, made a lot of new friends, and my teacher was THE BEST. Taking this course also gave me the opportunity to try animation for the first time. I ended up learning so many things about animations and how they were formed. I even got to create a few of my own! Overall, this was my favorite course and I would strongly recommend it to others.
I honestly didn't want to do intensive algebra review too much, but my parents and teachers suggested I do it to help improve my math for the upcoming school year. I did end up meeting some new people, but it wasn't the best class I have ever taken. Overall, I learned a lot but I wouldn't be to willing to recommend this course to a friend UNLESS they needed help with their math skills.
My name is Eden Livingston. The name of the program I went on was called Minds Abroad, located in Kunming China. It was a Chinese immersion.
I really enjoyed this program, both because of the pace and the opportunities. In the morning, we would have classes for 3 hours in small groups of 3-4 people, sorted by ability. This was great because it allowed the teacher to teach the class at a pace good for your group's skill level. In the afternoon, we would do various activities around the Kunming city that would require us to use our Chinese, such as shopping, buying fruits and other goods, and ordering at restaurants. We also visited a few local schools and conversed with the school children. On the weekend, we would take a short trip to a neighboring city to explore it and hike up to some of the temples located in the cities. I would recommend this program because you get a really good taste of what the real China is like because Kunming is not too Westernized, and because it has many opportunities for students to use their Chinese during the day.
My mom found the program online and I went with a few of my school friends.
Junius Williams ‘14
This summer, I participated in AmeriSpan’s Arabic program in Rabat, Morocco. Overall, I had a great experience, staying with a host family in Rabat for four weeks. The family was kind and generous and their home was spacious. Every day, my housemate and I took the local bus, which conveniently departed from a station one minute from the house, to the Arabic school: the Qalam wa Lawh Arabic Language Center. From 8:30 am-12 pm five days a week, I studied Arabic there. The school facility was modern, comfortable and well-equipped to serve technological and money-exchange needs. As well as being incredibly kind and accommodating, the faculty all spoke English, French and Arabic fluently. It was during class that I learned the most Arabic, although my teacher was quite new and inexperienced.
Often, at both school and home, I ate tajine, a staple Moroccan meat and veggie stew cooked in a round, clay pot. While this dish became repetitive after a certain point, I was able to eat other dishes such as kofta and couscous. On my first weekend, I visited Marrakech for two days and one night. On the second weekend, I journeyed into the Sahara Desert, roughly ten hours away from the northwestern capital city of Rabat, for three days and two nights. On my third and final weekend, I went to the cities of Meknes and Fez as well as the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, for three days and two nights. Traveling to such varied parts of Morocco allowed me to gain a better appreciation for its rich history and culture.
That said, such traveling came at a price. The Sahara trip was organized by the school, and cost about $170, though it was truly all-inclusive. The first and third trips were organized by friends; the school allowed us to travel freely whilst classes were not in session. On each trip, I spent about $110 for transportation, lodging, meals and (too many) souvenirs. I did not mind paying such fees, but bear in mind that the cost of trips is NOT included in the AmeriSpan tuition. Nor is, for that matter, the cost of school lunch, which ran me about $25 per week. Nor is the cost of bottled water, a necessity considering that much of the country’s water is not potable. Nor is the cost of the mandatory refundable deposit for the textbook, about $85. Nor is the cost of the school’s laundry program. Nor is the cost of airport pick-up and drop-off, ranging from roughly $40-$75 each way. As always, souvenir shopping, choosing to take a taxi over walking, eating out at restaurants, all of which I did a lot of, eventually add up. It is important to keep in mind these extra costs before going on the trip.
AmeriSpan, as I quickly learned, serves only as an agent between the student and the school. The school finds host families, organizes certain trips and manages day-to-day operations. The cost of the entire program, though incredibly reasonable, could be made even more reasonable by eliminating the middle-man (AmeriSpan) altogether, and saving $300-$400. The school, I learned, has a website through which you can book and register for their programs. Be sure to ask that lunches be included in the tuition cost.
The most important thing to note about the Qalam wa Lawh school is that it is not one for high school students. At 16, I was the youngest student there. And although there were a few other students aged 16-19, the average age was probably around 24. Personally, I managed to make friends of all ages from all over the world- from Italy to Sweden to Japan to Hungary- and socialized easily with people sometimes twice my aged. That said, however, if you feel uncomfortable with socializing with people significantly older than yourself, Qalam wa Lawh is the wrong school for you.
One final caveat about studying Arabic in Morocco overall: if you speak French proficiently enough to communicate on the street, don’t go. In the 20th century, Morocco was a French protectorate meaning that virtually the entire population speaks French now. I speak French very proficiently and relied heavily on the language for the entire trip. With my host family, I mostly spoke French. On the street, I spoke French (although in my defense, Moroccans speak a dialect of Arabic not mutually intelligible with the classical Arabic I was learning in school). In short, French quickly became a crutch used not just in emergency situations but in most situations. Using the language, however, made building real relationships easier and communicating with locals a more enjoyable experience.
Overall, my trip to Morocco was one of the most memorable I’ve taken, characterized by new friendships and by adventurous travel within the vast country. Despite the aforementioned cons of the experience, the pros outweighed them substantially.
SOL ABROAD in SPAIN Summer 2012
Tyler Olkowski ‘13
I spent a month in Granada, Spain with the Program SOL Abroad. I lived with a host family in the center of Granada, a city surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountain range on one side and the Mediterranean Coast on the other. Each morning, I attended three hours of classes at the University of Granada's Language Institute. Following class, I returned home and enjoyed typical cuisine with my host family and lively conversation with my endearing host mother. Evenings were full of cultural activities. I sampled cuisine, toured the Alhambra, spent a day in Nerja and Mallega and soaked in the culture Andalucia.
At night, I enjoyed walking through the city and watching the Euro Cup games with thousand's of the Spanish National Team's biggest supporters. Each night presented a new opportunity to practice my Spanish, whether it was ordering Tapas or asking for directions. The city was the perfect size--not too big to be overwhelming and not too small to become boring in a month. Around every winding street I found interesting shops and fun boutiques. Every day provided a new experience of Spanish culture and day-to-day life.
I enjoyed my time in Spain and greatly benefitted from the three integral aspects of Sol Abroad's program: family stay, classes and cultural immersion. My speaking improved and I still look back at my time in Spain fondly.
INESLE SPANISH TRIP to MADRID, SPAIN Summer 2012
This experience was unlike any I have ever had before. The program was based out of Madrid, Spain, and consisted of daily classes of roughly 4 hours, followed by daily trips to various museums, churches, and architectural wonders in Spain. The classes were on the art, history, language, economy, and news of Spain. Every place we went to had some extraordinary story behind it and there was never a dull moment in the program. The people and families included in this program are really what made the whole experience the best it could be. Living with a Spanish host family was unlike anything I had ever done and it was amazing. Overall, this experience with INESLE was one I will never forget, ending with the Camino De Santiago in Galicia. I learned many new things in this program such as an increase in my Spanish vocabulary. I also learned a lot about Spanish culture and everyday way of life. I learned of the program when the director of the program came to talk about the program with the Spanish speaking students at Phillips.
NSLI-Y Summer program in Suzhou, China
NSLI-Y is a language scholarship and summer program that paid for our cost of living in China and provided language classes and activities. We lived with a host family for six weeks, taking four hours of language classes every day. We also had culture classes and went on trips to different places, such as Shanghai, a teahouse, Suzhou gardens, and a silk factory. Everyone in the program became good friends, and we made close connections with our host families, who we lived with, ate with, and played with. It was complete immersion in the language and culture-- any American activities we did were with other American students, going to places like KFC, and they were uncommon. All our classes were in Chinese and outside of class hours, we spoke as much Chinese as possible with our host families and with locals, and familiarized ourselves with Suzhou and with Chinese culture.
NSLI-Y was an amazing experience. Academically, it was challenging but rewarding-- all aspects of my Chinese improved: my listening, speaking, reading, and writing. My language skills and confidence in these language skills developed at an amazing pace. I learned a lot about Chinese culture and Chinese people. Despite the differences in culture, I got to know my host family, and learned a lot not just about Chinese people, but about people in general. I developed a love for Chinese culture, food, and music, and still carry some habits I developed there with me. Very many programs claim to be "life-changing"-- NSLI-Y was one of those programs for me. I grew academically, yes, but I also grew socially and emotionally. I feel more confident in myself, not just in my language skills but in who I am as a person. NSLI-Y made me more independent, more of a problem-solver. I learned a lot about who I am as a person, and what my goals and my passions are. And I met amazing people who made the experience even more unforgettable.
SYA – CHINA Summer 2012
Ashlyn Aiello’ 14
Everyone says that the best way to learn a language is to go to the country where it is spoken, but I never really believed this until I went to China for myself. I studied with the SYA program, and one thing that you must know about any SYA program in general is that you won’t be alone. Tons of PA students apply to these summer schools and everyone gets in, we are just that good. When I went to China, almost half of the students in the whole program were PA kids.
Now, if you are worried about the fact that you must speak the designated language, don’t be. I was worried too and prepared myself mentally to think, hear, smell, speak, and just about eat Chinese. Well, you won’t have to do this. The teachers only speak Chinese (with exceptions when necessary) and encourage students to practice at home and in the hallways. Other than that, you are free to speak as much English as you want – just limit it when you are talking with teachers and your host family. In fact, your host family may not even know English so you may have to speak in their language anyway. But part of the fun in learning a language is using your handy problem-solving skills to figure out different ways to communicate. And your host family will communicate through their efforts to make you comfortable. My parents and sister gave me everything they had to offer in their small four room apartment. We had no kitchen (just a hallway with a sink and stove), and the bathroom was the size of the handicap toilet stall in Commons (including the shower). Despite this, my host-mom hand-washed my clothes, my dad gave me fruit (food is a big thing there), and my sister would help me with my homework.
Well, when I returned to the US, I realized how much of the culture and language just sort of became a part of me. I was thinking in Chinese and occasionally slipped a few words to my parents. The grammar structures and intonations just became easier to understand. Learning a foreign language in a classroom all day cannot teach you these more unconscious aspects of the language. You can only learn them if you get out and do what the native speakers do, live a native speaker lives.
Anyway, to be short and sweet, here’s what you got to know: you aren’t alone, it’s not as strict as they say it is, take advantage of the help all around you, be open to anything – allow yourself to absorb the language and its subtle characteristics.
Sarauniya Zulu ‘15
SYA China is a program in which students spent 4 weeks in Beijing with a Chinese host family. We studied at a nearby school, where we learned Chinese language as well and history, and went on weekly excursions to different tourist attractions. On the fifth week of the program, we visited Tibet and toured different cities of the area as a study trip. I would recommend SYA because I believe that traveling to China is a great way to learn the language, as well as the culture and history. I learned about this program from my Chinese teacher, who encouraged our class to apply for the trip.
TIES- JAPAN Summer 2012
Sonia Chiamake Okorie ’13
My name is Chiamaka Okorie, I am a four year senior from the Bronx, New York, and a Flagstaffer. As part of the 2012 TIES (Toin International Exchange Student) program, I got to spent mid-June to mid-July in Japan. The TIES program is very special, it is both a homestay and language learning experience. It is done with other boarding schools, so I met students from Exeter, Choate, St. Pauls, etc. The schedule is pretty structured. From Monday to Saturday, you would be one of the thousands of high school students heading the TOIN school in blue and white uniform. You would join your host sibling for homeroom, then go to Japanese class with the other eleven students. These classes were divided into groups (beginner to advanced) after a proficiency test, and taught by a native Japanese teacher. After classes we would have some sort of Japanese culture activity. Most afternoons, however, we would be on a trip. Our evenings, Saturday afternoons, and Sundays were free time to spend with our host family. Pretty straightforward, right?
Except my trip was much more exceptional. My first day in homeroom, I was mobbed by about forty Japanese high school girls excited to meet, speak to, and know about me. Just talking to these girls made me more comfortable speaking Japanese and I could help them with the English they were learning. They taught us gaikokujin (foreign exchange students) about Japanese pop bands, and we taught them English slang (including YOLO). We were also allowed to visit any of the hundred clubs they offered, so these same girls would later teach me how to play the koto (a japanese instrument) or the methodical process of a tea ceremony. The Japanese classes were designed to help us students remember common grammar, so they were mostly review with an emphasis on speaking. The teachers were very sweet, bubbly, and happily introduced us to nihongo ame (Japanese candy). As part of class, we got to meet and interview Japanese students and store workers so we could have face to face communication experience, which is amazing. On the trips, I visited some of the most beautiful and famous temples of Japan, including Nara Park where there were more deer than people and Kinkakuji, the golden temple. In just one month, I had gone glassblowing, tye dyeing, paper making, silk printing, to kyudo (archery), judo (martial arts), taiko (drumming), the underground Ramen museum, the Japanese Diet, many long, winding shopping streets with plenty of omiyage (presents), plus more. We travelled to Nara, Kyoto, Osakusa, and sometimes spent a night or two in hotels there. The program coordinators would give us a meeting place, money for lunch, a time to return, and let us roam for hours! I met so many people, ate so much delicious ramen, gyoza, and gome every single day. By the end of the month, I honestly felt like I had lived in Japan for a year.
My host family was in short, incredible. A student is placed according to the interests and personality details they'd put on the application so they would be more at ease living with a new family. I was placed with a Christian family of six, very much like my family. I lived with my two host sisters (16, 10), two host brothers (14, 2), host mom, host dad, and dog in Yokohama, Japan. They took me in from the first night. I was culture-shocked by being surrounded by fluent Japanese but they were never impatient - by the second week we were joking around. My host sister had done a homestay the previous year so she was pretty fluent, but while talking to everyone else in the family, I invented a new language: Japaenglish. For every breakfast and dinner, my host mother would prepare a giant spread of food and casually add more to my plate when I got even close to halfway done. They encouraged me to try different foods like nato (don't eat that) and shrimp tempura (eat lots of this). Although less than one percent of Japan is Christian, I was blessed with this host family. I would go with them to church every Sunday where I was just as welcomed by the other Christians I met. I also joined my host sister as she taught her Sunday school and though these kids spoke better Japanese than I could mumble, we got so close that I cried when I had to leave them. I will never forget the first day I was there and was standing back, a little awkward, when a little girl walked over and offered onigiri (rice ball) to me - of course we were best friends after. My host family took me to restaurants, any shopping places I was remotely curious about, and even along with them camping on the base of Mount Fuji. We absolutely became one family and I know that many other of the exchange students felt this bond.
I had so many wonderful experiences I can't even begin to remember. If I had to list two less favorable experiences, they would be the weather and pace. Because this was Japan's rainy season, it was often hot and humid. I would recommend not only packing light clothing materials, but also a water bottle. Secondly, with doing these trips almost everyday, walking for hours on each one, waking up early during the weekdays, and in my case, even on Sunday, I definitely got very tired. Not getting enough sleep was sometimes my fault (how could I not watch late-night The O.C with my host sister??), it began to affect my mood two weeks in. If I could do this again, I would make sure I was rested enough to appreciate everything the program offered.
I would most definitely reccommend the TIES program to anyone taking Japanese, whether its their second day or second year. I expected to have hardcore classes and maybe get to see Tokyo but I ended up with a second family, an international group of friends, and gaikokujin I am excited to see in America. I loved all of it.
Discovery Internships London
Last summer, I did a month long, marketing/finance internship in London and I’ll say without hesitation that the Discovery Internships program is the best program of any sort that I’ve ever done.
The professional job experience is without a doubt, legitimate. I worked from 9-5, five days a week with a firm called VB/Research. I was able to get to know many of my co-workers, who took the time to help me understand a lot of the things that were going on, how the company operated, and giving me piles of tasks that gave me some helpful and fun experience to get a early jump on working in my interested industry for the future. I actually worked with a few other interns who were college seniors, doing similar work as I was. The most memorable part of the internship however, would just be the overall experience, the 40 minute commute to work, on the Tube and walking throughout London. Being surrounded by actual working adults every day, on the commute to work and at work, made me feel like I was already one of them, that I was a mature, independent man who was doing things way beyond my age.
What makes this program so great however, is the unique, amazing experience you get in addition to the actual internship. It might be quite costly, but I highly doubt you can get better value from any other program. Everything is inclusive with the tuition (even meals and groceries!) and after a month in London, I felt like I had explored everything possible. The program staff had activities planned out meticulously, each weekend, and on certain weekdays, and we went to all the biggest tourist attractions in London, and more. My favorites were the London Eye, going to Arsenal’s stadium, and the Royal Ascot where we even saw the Queen. All in all, I don’t think it’s possible to spend a month in London any more productively than what Discovery offers, as I got a wonderful internship experience while enjoying and exploring every part of London.
Close Up: A Two Week Journey of a Lifetime
Making friends, policy, and learning about politics.- Kailash Sundaram ’14
I arrived at Close Up with an idea that I loved policy and politics, but I had no idea on how I was going to be involved in my passion at the young age of fourteen. Adults always tell young people that we are the “future of America”, but they never tell us when we are supposed to become the “present of America”. Through Close Up, I was about to answer this growing question, and embark upon the journey of a lifetime.
Our journey began on June 18th, when a group of twenty-two students come together in Crystal City, Virginia, to discuss, debate, and create policy regarding our nation’s pressing issues. Starting with an Introductory Workshop, we discussed what it means to be politically effective, and how young people can become involved in our political system. Next, we attended a Domestic Issues Debate spearheaded by a conservative and a liberal. Both debaters had varying opinions on controversial topics such as same-sex marriage and health care, allowing the audience to grapple with different ideas and gain a true understanding of which perspective they stood by. For example, the conservative believed legalizing same-sex marriage would defy the definition of marriage (one man and one woman). On the other and, the liberal believed that same-sex marriage was a civil rights issue, and that as a country that offers equal freedom for all, same-sex marriage should be a right that can be exercised.
The following night, we participated in a Mock Congress Workshop, debating the issue “Insurance providers shouldn’t be forced to provide free contraceptives to woman.” While some sided for the bill, I sided against it, realizing that when we’re a country about equal opportunity, it’s unfair when men receive contraceptives but woman can’t. Upon the completion of our workshop, three students selected a lobbyist and a representative for the “for” and “against” views. Fortunately, I was chosen as a lobbyist for the “against” view, and I made sure this bill didn’t pass through congress by giving a speech to a group of representatives. Each Close Up group at the hotel had also participated in a Mock Congress Workshop, and for the bills of theirs that did pass, we held an actual Congressional Simulation to vote and debate issues.
Wednesday served as an introduction to the most interesting part of the trip: the Youth Policy Summit. We split off into sub-committees in four categories, and I became an Executive Secretary in a committee labeled as Justice, Law, and Society. Throughout the week, I continued to work on two bills related to social security and welfare.
Later that day, we attended a Youth Policy Seminar, the second of five seminars that we would attend. Our first seminar was with Phil Dimon, a Foreign Service Officer, who had worked in the Consular Section of the American Embassy in India and was on his way to working in the political section of the American Embassy in El Salvador. Mr. Dimon spoke on what it means to be a Foreign Service Officer, and why our country needs more people who are willing to venture out and extend the ideals of our country to other nations. This second seminar was with Nina Shakur, a lawyer with the International Labor Organization. Ms. Shakur focused on addressing current labor laws in America, and how they are dealt with in court and what they mean to employers.
On Thursday, we transferred over to the World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials, trying to gain an understanding of what they mean to our country, why our country went to war, how our country learnt and rebuilt from these wars, and why these memorials were built. Personally, the Vietnam memorial was a favorite of mine in the different style that it was built in. The Memorial focuses on remembering those who died in service to their country, organizing names by the date of death, rather than alphabetical order. The Memorial forces people to take time to search for their loved one, and in the process, remembering the values and the kind of person that person was. Throughout the trip, we also visited other memorials, including the Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Junior Memorials. We also visited the White House, had a Capitol Hill Walking Workshop, and went to a Nationals Game.
My favorite Seminar came next: Education with Julie Stern. Ms. Stern, a teacher at an underserved Washington D.C. public school called the Chavez Public Policy School, highlighted how America’s education system is failing in a way. While she believed in the No Child Left Behind plan, Ms. Stern was a strong advocate in not only gauging a school’s success in standardized testing, but also in another method. Another problem she pointed out was the growing achievement gap in American between White Students and Minority Students, often due to the fact that white students are in households with better income, which leads to better education and stronger opportunities. Although minority students often have the opportunity to attend college, they can’t, because it’s almost impossible for their families to pay tuition.
Friday we attended three fantastic universities: George Washington, Georgetown, and the University of Virginia. All three universities were academically rigorous, and at the same time, provided amazing internships on Capitol Hill and around D.C., something that I’m very interested in. Soon after, we made the long ride to colonial Williamsburg, watched a reading of the Constitution, visited Monticello, and ate dinner at a colonial style tavern. The best part was hearing African stories told in the colonial style. There were two stories I really liked: A story about a queen who wanted something that didn’t belong to her, and a story about a guy who was small and who got beat up by a bigger guy, but he never retaliated, and in the end, he was the one who was successful.
Later in the week, we attended two more Seminars, the first one being about working as a political advertising consultant and how three things rule Capitol Hill: Money. Horse-trading. The votes of the people. Another seminar we attended was about Health Care, and the liberal perspective on it, and the conservative perspective. The lady spoke on how ObamaCare could help our country, and how it could derail it.
An event that was a little of out of the way but touched my heart was the community service onsite. At the Sasha Bruce Runaway Shelter, we heard about the plight that numerous children face each day, which includes physical abuse and becoming orphans as teens. To help these teens who are unsure about what to do with their life and to keep them off the streets, this foundation provides them with the daily necessities so they can bring their life back on track.
Wednesday presented itself as the most important day of the Youth Policy Summit. On this day, each person presented their proposals and debated on them, hoping that they would pass through the summit group. Fortunately for me, my social security passed. My proposal focused on attacking the fiscal instability of social security by implementing four steps: Indexing the retirement age, increasing the amount of wages taxed, increasing the amount of benefit for the top 5% of retirees, and introducing the Live Life program.
The best and most important day was Capitol Hill. We arrived on the hill at around 9:30, and I immediately took to the Supreme Court, waiting there to hear the results of the decision to either legalize or illegalize Obama’s new health care plan. As I stood there, photographers swarmed around me and my friends, and later that day, we appeared on BBC, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal. Around 11:00, we met Walter Gonzales, the Chief of Staff of a Representative, speaking with him about the policy we created and how it is to serve on Capitol Hill. Later, I met with the staff of Congressman Honda, attending an Anti-Bullying Caucus and speaking with them on the policy I created on Social Security.
Throughout the two weeks, I not only made some great friends, but I also learned about our political system. I realized that I don’t have to wait to make change, but that I can make it now. Close Up taught me that if I believe in something and work hard to create policy in support of it, I can make sure that it succeeds. All it takes is research, resiliency, and determination.
Alex Anderlik ‘14
I spent two weeks of my summer at the NECIR’s investigative reporting camp at Boston University. I was interested in the program because I had been writing articles for the Phillipian throughout my Lower Year, and thought that this camp would be perfect for improving my skills and also for seeing if journalism (and Boston University, for that matter!) is something I want to pursue after Andover. I spent the fortnight with bright kids my own age staying a college dorm, learning a lot as well as having fun in Boston. During the program I got to have a class similar in style to that of college, being taught by BU professors and world-class journalists (including a producer of 60 Minutes and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize). We spent much of our time doing independent reporting through research and interviews on relevant and local topics (I wrote a story on missing data from Boston’s food safety database and website). The program opened up new connections and opportunities, and gave me important new skills, which carry on far after the camp has ended. The experience was unforgettable.
Georgetown Medical Program July 1-7, 2012
Sabrina Rivers ‘14
This summer, one of the programs I attended was hosted on the Georgetown University campus. I found out about it while I searched through various summer programs hosted at colleges. The program would give students considering the Pre-Med advising track a way to see if they really liked it.
We attended lectures about human biology, learned how to triage a multiple-casualty incident, and were instructed upon how to backboard a patient with an injured spine. We were given the chance to dissect rats, then dissect a human corpse, and learn how to perform sutures on uncooked chicken breast. We were also given the opportunity to learn to gown up.
Several interesting people came and spoke to us about their experiences in medicine: a man with an MD and a PhD, a dentist, and a surgeon for the Air Force. We learned about their various experiences and asked them questions about the Pre-Med advising track.
The dormitory facilities were comfortable, and the campus was safe. The town nearby was cozy, and everyone was very friendly.
WESTON DRAMA WORKSHOP
Tom Burnet ‘15
This summer I participated in Weston Drama Workshop. It's a summer theater company located in Weston, Mass. and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
At Weston Drama, they put on more shows than anyone sane would attempt. They put on a "Morning Show" for middle school kids, which is usually a musical (this year it was Charlie Brown). In the evening, they rehearse 2-3 night shows. One of these shows is a "black box" show, and 1-2 of them are musicals. These are intended for high school and college kids. This year they put on Les Miserables, 42nd Street, and the Illusion. They also put on an afternoon show, which is intended for middle schoolers. High school/college kids interested in directing/stage managing can get jobs there.
I'd recommend this program on two different levels. In terms of quality, you will not find a higher quality high school theater program. All of the directors are extremely competent, especially the new Producer and Director Chris Brindley. They challenged me and the cast, and we put on a damn good show. My dad used to hate musical theater, but after seeing our production of Les Mis, he's now a musical fan!
On a personal level, the program has some of the most amazing people I've ever met. It's really a community at Weston Drama Workshop, and people there truly care about one another. I'm so glad I discovered it, because now I have something to do for most of my summers!
Here's a link to the website, where I discovered Weston Drama Workshop: http://westondramaworkshop.org/
I hope you recommend this program to interested people! I'd love to enjoy a summer with awesome Phillips Academy people.
CAMP CARDIAC at GWU in DC
Rebecca Somer ‘15
This past summer, I went to a week-long day camp called Camp Cardiac at GWU Medical School in Washington, D.C. The camp is not only in D.C, but in a couple of big cities including NYC and Boston. I found out about it through one of your e-mails! At Camp Cardiac, I was introduced to different careers in healthcare and learned a little about what it takes to get there. We even got to do some small things that the med students running the program have done in school. The highlights of Camp Cardiac included learning how to draw blood on human simulators, dissecting a pig heart, and going into the gross lab to see cadavers. I also especially enjoyed the lectures we got from various medical students and health care professionals. They explained their specialties and gave great advice to anyone who wants to go into medicine.
On the first day, it became clear that I was one of the only one's there who was not already set on pursuing a career in medicine. I came just to learn and get a feel for what it's like, and now, I am much more interested in going that direction. While short, Camp Cardiac was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone who even has the slightest interest in going into the field of medicine.
Elaine Chao ’14
I am currently a three-year upper from Shanghai. China, and this summer I took part in an amazing program called MetoWe. I heard about this trip from PA grad Christian Zhang (class of 12).
Here is a video in case you're interested in learning more about it:
I went along with the first Chinese group to Kenya, specifically the Masai Mara, and enjoyed a wonderful two weeks building schools and getting to know the Kenyan culture. What really inspired me was how passionate the founder of MetoWe, Craig Kielburger was. He started his non-profit when he was 12 years old and was already nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Award at the age of 29. Coincidence enough, I learned from him that he was going to be our Non-Sibi speaker this year.
The program did a great job balancing community service with culture immersion. Along with building schools, from digging foundations, to mixing cement, to chiseling brick walls, we also met the last generation of Masai Warriors (at least one accompanies each volunteer group that goes there), learned to bead from local mamas, and went on a Safari trip. What sets MetoWe apart from other programs is how much passion everyone has and how close you get with the people you meet there. Just walking on the streets, little kids hold my hands and eagerly ask for my name. They high-five me along the way and yell out jambo, or hello, whenever I pass by them. Another plus for the trip is that family can tag along too. They wouldn't be doing much building, but parents and little siblings do experience community service and interact with the locals more than they ever would if they just went to Kenya for vacation.
For the two pictures attached, one of them is a picture from the worksite and the other was a group photo consisting of Christain Zhang (class of 12), Jamie Chen (class of 15), and me, along with Craig.