For the last week in June, ten EducationUSA EducatinUSA Competitive College Club took a bus out to beautiful Vanadzor for the EducationUSA University Camp pilot program. While residing at the Vanadzor Sanatorium, the students participated in four intensive courses, all in English, and in the afternoons attended various presentations and skills development workshops designed to prepare them for college life in the U.S.
The EducationUSA University Camp is designed to give students a realistic experience of the American university lifestyle. The morning classes were in subject areas relevant to studying in the U.S., including English Composition, Public Speaking, U.S. Government, and Computer Skills, taught by seasoned Peace Corps volunteers. These courses help equip students with the background knowledge they need to succeed at an American university.
English Composition was the first class of the day, instructed by Peace Corps Volunteer Pamela Watson. Students were taught the basics of essay writing in English, and were given plenty of practice and feedback for their work, helping them improve their writing skills tremendously over a short time. Similarly, in the Public Speaking class, taught by Peace Corps volunteer Meewa Mull, participants overcame their fear of public speaking by answering candid questions asked by their peers and giving short speeches in front of the class. The U.S. Government class, taught by Peace Corps volunteer Adam Housh, strengthened students’ knowledge of the three branches of the American government, as they explored in depth of the legislative and judicial systems in place as well as historical landmarks in American politics.
In the Computer Skills class, students were introduced to new websites and programs that are often used by college students in the United States, Microsoft SkyDrive being the most popular among the high schoolers. They were then instructed on the principles of effective presentation-making skills, and were assigned to partner up and research and present on a US college or university of their choice. The end results were quite impressive as the partners creatively integrated information and images throughout their presentations and maintained a professional demeanor when delivering their piece.
Students had the opportunity to spend time with American college graduates and USG program Alumni and gain an inside view of American college life. Especially with EducationUSA intern Megan Levonian’s presentation, entitled “How to Survive Your Freshman Year,” students were given a preview of what to expect for their first year studying at a U.S. university, not just for academic success but also for their psychological and emotional well-being, as the freshman year of college is a huge transitional period for all students, no matter where they study.
The CCC students also participated in workshops geared toward developing more technical skills such as creating a CV and successful interview tips.