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Mid-Term Reflections from the Program Manager - Grand Tour Europe
(Departure 1)

Throughout the many blog posts and pictures that have appeared in our Instagram account for our program, our staff and I 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 in a few short paragraphs the themes of opportunity, community and responsibility that can be used to sum up our experiences thus far.

It is safe to say that your children have been given an incredible opportunity to visit so many amazing countries and many cities within these countries for this program. Everyone has seen thousands of years of history first hand, been able to learn about buildings, people, events and cultures. Sometimes these experiences are formal, where a teacher or a tour guide is explaining a part of their curriculum that allows them that experiential education that Global Summers Academy provides on every program. Many times, though, it is when students are exploring with a group of friends without any formal guide, experiencing these cities and islands on their own. I have had countless conversations with students about their adventures when out during free time. Students have shown me their purchases for themselves and for their loved ones at home. Because our group has been so well behaved, I extended curfew so students could see the Eiffel Tower’s light show at 11pm the other night. Most students took up this opportunity and a couple students even got to sing songs with a busker. Such an amazing opportunity for Sloane and Mia, well done.

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 and are taking the opportunity and experiencing it as mature and reflective young adults.  Many parents may be wondering if their 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 with Global Summers Academy.

From the first day of the program 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 everyone in the program.  With parents thousands of kilometers 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 very closely with one another. Today, when speaking with Shannon, she was so surprised how close the students have bonded so quickly. 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.  They have bonded as friends, and 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, or need help with their assignments, 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 they have built a strong community of 36 students in a very short period of time.  In the near future, for most of these students, post-secondary education is the next step. I can see that these students, given their maturity and abilities at the moment, will be ready for that independent life of post-secondary education.

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 has been very responsible in following the guidelines that Global Summers Academy has put in place 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, which is in the very near future for most of these students. This group has been respectful, and all locations now know our Canadian students are a fantastic group. As staff, we have also commented just how well this group travels. Our ride to Munich was longer than we anticipated. The whole group took it in stride, and when we finally arrived at the hotel students, were overjoyed when we had such an amazing pizza dinner at the hotel. In speaking with Max and Greg recently, they both remarked how well everyone is navigating the transit systems in all the cities we are visiting. I agree, the students sometimes know it as well or better than the adults! They truly have been respectful and adventurous on this program. Thank you for raising such a thoughtful, responsible and respectful group of young adults. Our staff have often reflected just how lucky we are to have this group on the program.

Thank you for reading. We are only 12 days away from coming home. I know students are excited to see all of their loved ones on the 26th but they also are realizing just how much they are going to miss their new friends and miss the opportunity that you have provided them this summer in this program.


Jason Smith

Program Manager