During the summer we get to reverse the ILP program a little bit. Chinese and Ukrainian students come to the USA and participate in a summer camp here!
ILP has been sending volunteers abroad to make a difference in the lives of children for over 20 years. Well, for the past 8 or so years, International Language Programs has been bringing groups of students from China and Ukraine, to experience the United States for a couple weeks over the summer. Generally, the summer camps have two different groups and are broken into two portions, a Utah portion, and a trip portion. Here's how it works:
Every year is different, but generally students from China and Ukraine. Some of them might even be our volunteers's past students. This past summer, 5 of my students from when I lived in China were here. It was so great to be reunited with some of my former kiddos and the best part was that they remembered me, and I was their teacher in China almost 3 years ago!
The kids are usually about 11-13 years old, but sometimes we get a few older or even a couple younger ones! This past summer we had two 9-year-olds in one of the groups and have had 16-year-olds come in past years. Along with the students, there are also "foreign" leaders that come with them from China and Ukraine.
How Many Students Come?
Like I mentioned above, each year is different and depends on how many students sign up to come. In general, there are about 50 students in each group. This past summer we had a HUGE group of 61 students and a smaller group of 30 students.
Utah Summer Fun!
The first group arrives in Salt Lake City and spends about 10 days in Utah. The students stay with Host Families and get to have the awesome experience of staying with an American family. During the Utah portion, the kids attend English classes, taught by ILP alumni, in the morning, and then after getting lunch, do all sorts of fun activities in the afternoon.
The following are some of the fun activities the students during the afternoon:
- Visit Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum and Gardens
- Listen to Music and the Spoken Word and get a tour of Temple Square
- Go shopping
- Hike to the Timpanogos Caves
- Get a tour of an American University (The University of Utah)
- Go Bowling
- Play mini golf, go-carting, laser tag, and arcade games at Boondocks Fun Center
- Experience ice skating and visit The Great Salt Lake
- Enjoy a day at Snowbird Mountain Resort: zip-lining, riding a mountain coaster, taking the alpine slide and so much more!
- Spend a day a Lagoon Amusement Park
When the time in Utah comes to an end the students are always sad to leave the host family that have come love. They often tell us that their favorite part about the summer camp was getting to stay with an American family! After the sad goodbyes, we hit the road to slowly start making our way to Los Angeles, California.
Road Trip Fun!
The road trip portion of the trip can vary from year to year and it really depends on what the group of students wants to see on the way to LA. This past year the road trip was jammed pack with tons of fun stops along the way.
Here's a breakdown of the fun adventures that happened during the road portion of the summer camps:
- Visited Bryce Canyon National Park
- Went shopping in Las Vegas
- Viewed the Las Vegas strip from the top of the Eiffel Tower
- Spent a day park hopping between Disney land and California Adventure
- Enjoyed riding roller coasters at Knotts Berry Farm
- Swam in the ocean at Santa Monica Beach and enjoyed all that Santa Monica Pier has to offer
- Saw the Hollywood sign, TLC Chinese Theatre, famous hand prints and the walk of fame in Hollywood
- Spent a day at Universal Studios
After Universal Studios, we dropped off the first group of students at the LAX airport and after making sure they all got their tickets and made it through customs. With only a few minutes to be sad that the kids were gone, the second group of summer camp students arrived shortly thereafter and we did the entire summer camp over again but in reverse with the road trip/California portion first and the Utah portion second.
Needless to say, International Language Programs' summer camps here in the USA are jam-packed with fun activities so the students from China and Ukraine can experience as much as possible during the couple of weeks that here. One of the hardest parts about the summer camps is saying goodbye to the students you've come to love. Sound familiar? I know that's how I felt during my ILP semester abroad. Click here to learn more about what the hardest parts about going abroad is. Hint hint... leaving your kiddos is definitely one of the hardest parts!
Now all I have left to remember, not only my semesters abroad, but the summer camps are the pictures I took and from the cute love notes my students left me.
Interested in making a difference in the lives of Children abroad? International Language Programs sends volunteers to 8 different countries around the world to teach English to children. Click the button to start your own adventure now, and once you get back apply to be an ILP summer camp teacher here in the States.