Throughout the many blog posts and pictures that have appeared on the travel journal for our program, our Photography Teacher Mr. D and the staff have tried to capture how it feels to be on this program with your children. We are now past the halfway point and I would like to try and sum up our experiences thus far.
It is safe to say that your children have been given an incredible opportunity to visit a few amazing countries, starting with Spain, then France, Germany, Lichtenstein and now Zermatt, Switzerland. Everyone has seen thousands of years of history first hand on our excursions and walking tours and has been able to learn about buildings, people, events and cultures first hand. Sometimes these experiences are formal-with a teacher or a guide, taking students through experiential learning.
Many times though it is when students are exploring with a group of friends without any formal guide, experiencing these cities. Shopping, interacting with locals or interpreting culture or historic sites first hand without any help. All of our students have really taken advantage of this opportunity. They are not letting their time in these amazing locations slip away and are taking every advantage to soak it all in. They realize how special this opportunity is as mature and reflective young adults. Many parents may be wondering if your child was ready to be away on their own away from home. The students on this program have truly shown that they are ready for that opportunity and are mature enough to take full advantage of what you offered them this summer in taking a Global Summers Academy program.
From the first day, the staff have stressed the importance of our program becoming a strong and supportive community. The importance of supporting one another academically and socially is vital for the success of this program. With parents thousands of miles away we need to make sure we are providing the care and empathy as we deal with the ups and downs of being so far away from our loved ones at home in Canada. Again, our students have taken this to heart and have bonded closely with one another. Students are supportive in and out of the classroom to help one another keep up with the fast paced curriculum that they are experiencing together. Even through challenges, they are learning the importance of communication and how to be flexible. They have bonded as friends to support each other in and out of the classroom, to make sure they compromise when deciding what to do at night or on weekends based on the group’s needs rather than just their own. When students have missed home, felt ill or are stressing about school other students have shown empathy and care when helping their new friend work through it. The maturity of the students on the program is truly evident on a daily basis and will serve them well as many will head for post secondary education in the near future.
Many parents may have wondered about the safety of their child as they are so far away from the nest of home but I can assure you that your child have been very responsible in following the guidelines that Global Summers has to ensure their safety. When a student has made an unwise choice it has been handled as an opportunity to learn from it. This opportunity will prepare them for when they truly are out of the nest.
This group of students respect themselves and each other to represent their families, our country and themselves in a way that all our locations know our Canadian students are a fantastic group. As a staff we have also commented just how well this group travels. We have had some long days traveling, waiting patiently and touring but the program has shown great resilience. Our staff have often reflected just how lucky we are to have this group on the program.
We are less than 10 days away from coming home. I know students are excited to see all of their loved ones on August 1st but they also are realizing just how much they are going to miss their new friends and the wonderful opportunity you gave them to travel Europe on this program.