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My Summer Enrichment Experience at UCLA

June 13, 2011 / Posted by in Blog

(Written by Julia H.)

My summer before junior year, I stepped off of the plane at the LAX airport and into Los Angeles for the first time. A man in a neon shirt, who sort of looked like Ashton Kutcher, greeted me and asked if my name was Dahlia. Did I even look like a Dahlia?
“No,” I replied, “It’s Julia.”

He asked if I was from Boston, and when I nodded he commented on how I hadn’t had to come far. Hadn’t had to come far? I traveled across the country! It had taken me five hours of MTV and a crying baby to get me here, and I doubted whether Ashton even knew where Boston was at all.

Sitting outside of the airport, I was joined moments later by a blonde girl with bright red bags. “Dahlia?” I asked. But the girl just gave me a strange look and told me her name was Athelia. Athelia was from Singapore. I wasn’t familiar with Singapore… was that in Canada? Or maybe it was Europe.

When I reached the UCLA campus for the Summer Discovery enrichment program, I was able to see why the Ashton look alike would have said it wasn’t a far way for me to go. Students had come from EVERYWHERE: Turkey, Colorado, Japan, Italy, France, New York, Mexico, Florida, Germany, Puerto Rico, and tons of other countries and states.

The idea of a summer enrichment program is to send kids in high school to colleges in order to learn more about what college life is like, to take classes, and to meet people from other parts of the world. During my month long stay at UCLA, I studied both SAT and college writing, in actual classrooms with actual homework every single day—except for the weekends. After class, I was offered a variety of activities that allowed me to explore LA and the UCLA campus. I was assigned a dorm room with seven other suite mates (we had individual rooms) and I was taught how to surf at Venice Beach.

Regarding Summer Discovery programs, the Boston Globe wrote, “With enrichment programs on eight college campuses, programs give students a chance to sample college life complete with roommates, dorm food and coursework. There are endless adventures, community service and a variety of new things in these programs. The on-campus experience gives kids the confidence they need to handle anything. You can see the difference.”

If I were to suggest any way for teens to spend their summer I would definitely recommend Summer Discovery or a summer enrichment program similar to it to prepare kids for college and acquaint them with people from all over the world. To learn about JBG’s recommended summer programs please visit: http://jbgeducationalgroup.com/summer

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