Thomas Johnson - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
The thought of going abroad had always interested me. We go through so many days in life doing the same things; the summer is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and try something new and unfamiliar. Meeting people from around the world, learning new languages, and travelling can increase your marketability substantially. I wanted to become an even greater leader in life. Leaders travel the world, leaders are open-minded, leaders learn languages, and can adjust and be open and willing adjust to life abroad.
Why did you choose The English Camp Company in Italy and Austria?
The English Camp Company stands out alone by its reviews and reputation on GoAbroad.com. The support, communication, and social aspect of the program contribute to its amazing organizational structure.
Italia is one of the most visited places in the world. When I think of the country I reminisce on the days of gladiators; individuals who risked their lives for Italia to thrive for centuries. The beauty of Italy and Austria are undeniable.
What was your favorite part about your location?
There were multiple locations. Through The English Camp Company program, you have access to many locations throughout Italy and Austria; you may be on the far eastern coast of Italy for two weeks, and then relocate to the far western coast afterwards. It gives you a unique perspective of Italia’s economy and social life. Throughout the summer, Italia’s sights are breathtaking. Travelling by train can help you take in its natural beauty and come to appreciate the massive land mass and coastal beaches.
What makes traveling abroad with The English Camp Company unique?
Every two weeks, I stayed with a new host family in a different Italian city. Each host family was amazing, and they all wanted to take me to dozens of places and show me off to their relatives; it was great. They were all amazing and treated me as one of the family. I have many of them as friends on social media, and plan to meet with one of my previous host families in New York in December.
How did the local staff support you throughout your program?
Ashleigh and Nate, who organize the program, are SO professional and organized. The support is unbelievable. Before even reporting to your destination in Italy you're given much advice and information to help you. All camp tutors are given their train ticket to the next location well ahead of time before camps, and each location has its unique customs and entertainment. Support during orientation was fabulous! You're given all the needed information and questions asked well before stepping foot into a classroom by yourself and you are truly well prepared for your entire summer.
America Day (July 4th) in Italia!
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Honestly, the only thing I can think of is learning Italian beforehand. It is not required, but truly makes life outside of teaching much easier, especially with host families. However, the cultural exchange is one of a kind. If you go into the program without language skills, learning a new language and culture is a challenge, but it's very rewarding, and your time spent will still be well worth it.
What was a typical day like for you during your program?
My typical day includes: wake up, brush teeth, and breakfast prepared by the host family, as I thank them for their generosity and help my host mother prepare lunch for myself and host brother/sister. Then it's off to camp! Some camps I was at provided a bicycle to my host family for me to ride to camp (such an incredible experience and test of physical capability).
Camp begins with a big circle of English songs and games (my FAVORITE part of the day), then to the classrooms to teach. In the afternoon, we hold games, arts/crafts, etc. After camp ends, we ride home with our italian host family and enjoy whatever the beautiful day in Italia has to offer. Sometimes we go to beaches, restaurants, parks, mountains, clubs, etc. It's such an amazing unique experience with your class, The English Camp Company, and your fellow English tutors with you at camp.
What did you like to do on your free time?
My favorite activity was definitely going to the beach. There are so many beaches near the east and west coast. Since you get to travel every two weeks, you're almost guaranteed to visit at least once! AHHH it's just an incredible summer!
Flavian Amphitheater in its natural beauty with the English camp tutors!
What was your favorite part about your accommodation?
We stayed with host families throughout the duration of the program, except for orientation. Staying with host families is amazing! My number one reason for going to Italy was for the cultural immersion, and visiting with my host mother/father(s) was great. They fill you up with scrumptious natural Italian food, drinks, etc.
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
Whenever you travel abroad, you'll always return with a more open mind. Understanding that every continent and country has their own way of life, in terms of pace of everyday activity, timeliness, family cohesion, etc., is essential. Getting the opportunity during the summer to experience life abroad is one that you will never forget!