Wherever you are reading this blog post from, remember that you are not alone at a JKCP or UPenn Summer Camp. Last summer, when I was at the Wharton Sports Business Academy, I met the most diverse group of students, with various geographical, national, racial, education and political backgrounds. As an international student myself, I had the international student full package experience at WSBA.
Getting to the program and getting back home marked the beginning and end of my camp experience. After I was admitted to the program, I had to fill out my arrival and departure information. Knowing this information, JKCP provided transportation back and forth from the Quad to PHL airport. Arriving at the Philadelphia International Airport after a 16-hour trip from Beijing to the U.S., I was picked up by a JKCP van and a JKCP camp counselor. There were students attending other programs also using the same van, coincidentally, some of us even came from the same plane. Upon departure, there was a set schedule that had vans and buses heading towards the bus station, train station and airport. The transportation was safe, convenient and timely for me, and for my fellow camper who needed the commute. I also arrived early to the camp, and the Quad was already open for the international students, with counselors helping me register and chaperoning me before camp officially started.
During camp, my most valuable international student experience at the camp was being able to contribute as an international student, and to learn from other domestic and international students. Last year, there were students from China, Japan, South Korea, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Kingdom. As students who come from various national backgrounds, we know our countries really well, and for WSBA specifically, we know our respective sports industries well. Very often, professors during classes would ask the international students’ opinion and let us share our knowledge. We contributed to the class in a special way because of our international student identity. I also learned so much from other international students. The girls from Nigeria and Kenya had to travel for over 24 hours in order to go to camp from Africa. They had so many brilliant ideas and concerns for their own community, and their performance during camp influenced not only the students but also the professors. In addition, there were also students from almost every state of the U.S., with every one of them having their distinct background and unique opinion.
In my mind, the camp had become a huge melting pot for a truly diverse student body, which everyone within could voice their opinions and learn from each other. In this kind of situation, JKCP & UPenn’s summer program provided me with the most comfortable and valuable international student experience that I would never forget.