During my first year at LJMU, I remember everyone talking about Smaller Earth and Camp Leaders and the travel opportunities they offer for the summer. After seeing a Camp Leaders poster on campus I attended their presentation later that week to find out all about the summer camp experience. It was through attending this presentation and through information on the website that I really gained an insight into Camp Leaders and Smaller Earth. I applied for the Camp Leaders programme that very same day.
"Looking forward to” is an understatement, I am absolutely buzzing about my plans for summer of 2016! If there’s one thing I’m particularly excited about, I’d have to say it's the whole experience of going out there again and meeting new people from all over the world. For the first part of my trip I’m going back to California to work for a YMCA summer camp near San Francisco. I first worked here in 2014 through Camp Leaders. Staff there are hired from a variety of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Hungary, South Africa, the UK and (obviously) America. Listening to their life experiences of growing-up and living in different parts of the world was definitely one of the highlights from my previous trip, and I can't wait to see my camp friends from summer 2014. After camp I'm flying straight to Australia for a year on Smaller Earth's Full Aussie programme. Bonza!
Working as a Lifeguard during my first summer at camp in 2014, I was responsible for ensuring safe usage of the camps aquatic facilities: this required the ability to work as part of a team, and the courage to take control of potentially dangerous situations (looks pretty impressive on a CV). It’s easy for someone to think of themselves as a 'team player' and able to 'work well under pressure'; if I got a £1 for every time I heard someone say they have 'excellent interpersonal skills' I’d be flying to San Francisco International airport in a private jet and driven to camp in a limousine. But in all seriousness, there’s no better way to demonstrate these skills than by going out into an unfamiliar setting and working alongside new people and tackling challenging situations that you wouldn't normally come across back home. My experience of working abroad wasn't without difficulty and there were definitely a few moments when I was taken out of my comfort zone and forced to think on my feet. In retrospect, it was these moments which helped me to develop the skills needed to work under pressure which have served me well in my present studies and hopefully in later life.
You’ve probably heard this cliché a million times before (namely because it’s true) but travel really does broaden the mind, by embracing the whole experience of working abroad not only did I learn a lot about other people’s culture and take on life but I definitely learned a lot about myself. From my point of view, it’s particularly important for students because University is a pretty time-flexible stage in life which makes the whole travel arrangement process lot easier than when you’re committed to a full-time 9 ‘till 5. What’s also pretty cool is when I’ve had friends from camp come to visit and I’ve been able to show them around the LJMU campus, and take them on a Liverpool style student night out!