Okay, so I just got back two days ago from a three-week long summer internship program. I stayed in a college dorm with a bunch of other high schoolers from around the country and the world who were also doing their own individual internships. I spent my days working and my nights socializing. Let me tell you, though. “Socializing” at high school summer programs like this defies all normal conceptions of the word. Just imagine: You take 400 awkward high school students eager to revamp their reputation in this blank new slate of a place and what follows is the complete upheaval of all normal social rules. In the first week it was a mad race to be the loudest person, to make the most friends, to hook up with the most people. Complete social chaos I tell you. And as if that’s not enough, all the international people there had their own different cultures of interacting with people, so no one ever knew what was acceptable or not.
I personally observed from a distance, slightly amused, slightly terrified. But anyway, when I got past my initial annoyance at the whole middle-school-esque atmosphere of the situation, I realized how cool everyone actually was when they weren’t trying to be so cool. My favorite were the kids who went to international school. Hands down, internationally-schooled students are the most interesting group in the high school demographic. And they all seem to know each other, bragging about their global contacts in foreign nations as if each nation was just another school to them, which it probably was. Some countries of origin of my new friends: Egypt, England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Colombia, India, South Africa…It was like a microcosm of world cultures!
This is what I absolutely loved the most. Meeting so many people from a myriad of backgrounds was a dream come true for a travel-hungry, culture-starved suburban teenager such as me. You can only imagine the conversations we had. About the “unusual weather” in Pennsylvania, restaurant bread that, when eaten, was “like chewing gum” for my one Spanish friend, the legal age to go clubbing in India, and the explanation of countless American idioms (have you realized that to be down for something means the same as to be up for something?). I was so sad on the last day when we had to say goodbye since the chances of any of us meeting again in person are pretty slim 😦 And so now, I’m here sentimentally blogging about everything as I struggle to readjust back to normal life.
Anyone have any good stories about places they’ve travelled to this summer? I’m feeling the wanderlust..