My decision to spend my summer of 2016 in the United States was arguably one of the best I have made so far. Before I left I was unsure what to expect, feeling nervous and anxious about the months ahead in a new country with no familiar faces. These feelings now come as a huge contrast to the feelings of sorrow and quite frankly, despair when this experience came to an end in what felt like the blink of an eye.
One of the most important impacts that my summer in the US had on me was that it gave me a sense of direction and purpose.
The people I met, places I went and things I did will stay as fond memories in my mind for a long, long time. I’ve made friendships will last a lifetime and transcend the thousands of miles that separate us. These friendships were forged through living, working and socialising together. Whether it was travels to Boston and New Jersey, going to your first baseball game together, posing for photos at the top of the Rockefeller building or just a chilled out day on a boat by the beaches at the Hamptons… we really did live for the weekends. Of course the free time was excellent but some of the fondest memories come from the day to day routine of camp life. Sharing a laugh and a joke together at snack break before the return to work, that one kid at camp that always put a smile on your face no matter how tired you were or the fun and games at camp fire night, the everyday life at camp is something that is happily reminisced upon.
Before I went out The States I had just finished university and was very unsure about my future. Career wise, I had thought about going into teaching but decided at the last minute that I wasn’t really sure it was something I wanted to do, having limited experience of the profession. However, having returned from this three month incredible experience I came away knowing that it was something I wanted to do and furthermore, something I was confident I would be good at. Part of this came from working with my fellow staff members, with many of them working in education as teachers or nannies. They had worked with a variety of ages and were all fantastic members of the camp. I believe meeting so many motivated and friendly people inspired me to think about teaching more seriously. Another important part of my decision was working with the children every day at camp. All the friendships made the campers and experiences shared with them gave me assurance in my own mind that it was the right path for me to take. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and supervising them at camp and came away from each day feeling fulfilled within myself.