The first session of Summer 2019 has come to an end at Yale, with our participants saying their emotional farewells on Saturday. Having arrived from all over the world two weeks ago, they have certainly made a lasting impression on each other, and the ORA staff as well. Their stay has been marked with smiles and laughs, as well as some very impressive academic work.
The learning began almost immediately, with our 16-18 year olds taking in programmes on Global Leadership and Business and Enterprise, both of which helped the participants to better understand the concept of leadership as well as relevant theories. Our 13-15 year olds also looked at some of these topics, in introductory programmes to both subjects. There was also a chance for all of the participants to gain some insight into life at Ivy League Universities, which was fascinating and very well-received.
As well as the regular academic sessions, there was a series of engaging masterclasses and talks from a range of speakers. The participants had a chance to get some great advice on topics from ‘how to optimise university applications’ to ‘lab etiquette’. These sessions have enhanced the learning experience, and displayed the wide range of options that the participants have open to them.
In addition to their excellent academic work, all of the participants have had plenty of free time to enjoy and socialise in. The weather in New Haven over the two weeks was stunning, and this allowed plenty of time outdoors to explore the town and go shopping. When the heat was too much, the basement common room offered some welcome respite. Hours in the common room were spent playing pool, cards and board games, as well as chatting.
The Yale campus is also ideally placed for some truly incredible excursions. The participants went on an amazing trip to New York on the middle weekend, spending the day in the Big Apple and seeing many of the sights, including the Statue of Liberty. There was also an Independence Day extravaganza, complete with hot dogs, a baseball game and fireworks! The participants have also enjoyed tours, museum visits and escape rooms as the enriching selection of activities ORA offers was on full display.
On the penultimate day of the session, everyone’s hard work and brilliant socialising was rewarded with a graduation ceremony. Dressed smartly and in great spirits, the participants received their awards from Programme Director Ron to the applause of their peers and all the staff. It was a great occasion, and the night wasn’t finished there as a fantastic party at a restaurant in town had also been laid on.
There were certainly a few tears at the end of the session, but mostly there was a terrific sense of achievement from the participants. They have all taken and passed some challenging but enlightening programmes, and made some great friends in their time at Yale. It was a wonderful experience for the ORA staff as well as the participants, and as they head off to enjoy the rest of their summer they will have plenty of positives to take with them.