What I liked
I loved many, many things about this job; here are just a few:
1. STUDENT NETWORK: I was able to build a network with students from other top universities around the country. I now have connections and know people at almost every Ivy League and other top schools and these are connections that are hard to make all at one time otherwise.
2. CULTURAL EXCHANGE: This may have been my favorite part of the trip. Each of us were assigned three local staff in our classrooms and I learned so much about what it means to be a college student in China; the local staff also asked and learned a lot about what it means to study and live in the United States. Furthermore, my students were always asking me about what life was like at an elite college in the United States and if I thought that I could achieve it. This, for me, is the reason that I was there and the fact that these students had a chance to sit and have real-life interactions with students like us is special and for some, life altering. I was also constantly learning about what it means to go to school in a different part of the United States and at different institutions. I learned to be more appreciative of Georgetown and where I come from. The summer with Ivy Camps USA provided many opportunities for cultural exchange -- local staff/foreign staff, foreign staff/student, foreign staff/foreign staff.
3. LOCATION: I would have probably never had a chance to see -- much less live in -- China for as long as I did with Ivy Camps USA. Shanghai, China, the business capital of the world, was an absolute amazing city with even more magnificent people. As someone who appreciates culture as well as diversity, I was able to both travel to other parts of the country to experience Chinese culture and just take a stroll downtown to meet other people from around the world. There was never a free second because in the entire six weeks there, there was always something to do. I loved the location and am excited to see where Ivy Camps USA takes it in the future! Some great locations coming up include Singapore and Dubai.
4. PERFORMING ARTS TRACK: I had the honor of working under Darius Engelbrecht, one of the most hard-working and talented people I have ever met. From the very first time that my track members and I met Darius, he had a full and detailed curriculum ready to have us look at and analyze. In practice, the curriculum worked so well and fit together so nicely. We had the luxury of changing some of it if we saw fit, but we did not need to because it has already been perfected. There was a maximum of one hour of prep-work for us to do after work each day which left for plenty of time to get to exploring the city afterwards. This thought-out and perfected track lead to visible changes and improvements in the campers and I have never been more proud to say that I was a part of a positive change in someone else. The strength of this track has made me more passionate about the idea of bringing American-style summer camps to children all around the world.
5. ENVIRONMENT: The staff and student around me became my family in the six weeks that I was with them. I still keep up with many that I met to this day and plan to have them around for a while. I have already been a part of three reunions in the span of a semester, including students from Georgetown, Cornell, Princeton, Berkley, and others. Every day during camp, the executive staff had another student present to the rest of us during breakfast. This student could choose a story that affected them during their time at camp, an embarrassing moment, share a funny video they found, or really anything that they felt would be nice to share to the group of over 40 of us. We ended the camp with a large group activity that allowed staff members to share how affected they were by others around them (I do not want to share more details about the activity just in case you go and do it yourself!). I remember these comments and the strongest of them still helps shape the way that I view my day-to day life. Not to mention all the laughing, dancing, and cheering. What a time to be a child again!!
I put myself out there and decided to take a gamble and give up another internship to do this over the summer and I cannot be more thankful for the opportunity and change that it has brought to my life. I will forever remember Ivy Camps USA Summer Camp 2018 as the summer that made me the person who I am today. If you are thinking about working this camp, DO IT! The possibilities are endless and you will not regret a single moment that you invested in applying (which a super simple process, too!).