The Benefits of Making International Connections

Posted by Brett Koolik on Dec 15, 2014 3:57:00 PM

Koolik and Friends at JKCPThe fun part about going to JKCP is not just the tennis, golfs, weekend trips, mall, or even the movies! For me, one thing that I always look forward to every year is the people. I remember when I first came to camp, I was really nervous to find out who my roommate was. I really wanted to get an American roommate, because I could easily identify with him. When I entered my dorm, my roommate was already unpacking and setting up his things. It became apparent he wasn’t American. I stood in front of the doorway scanning the room and said hello. He stopped what he had been doing, rushed over to me, shook my hand, and introduced himself. His name was Louis. He was from Madrid, Spain, and was interested in all of things that I liked! We were both soccer fanatics, although we didn't call the sport by the same name! Every day after his English class and my Tennis class, we would go outside in the quad area and kick the soccer ball around. He was a bit better than I was, so he showed me some sweet moves. Him and I were like best friends the whole summer! I slowly realized then that having a foreign roommate was the best thing that happened to me that summer! Not only did I learn a little Spanish on the way, but also I learned a lot about his culture. Louis and I still keep in touch to this day. Last summer, I was visiting Six Flags and I bumped into him! It was awesome seeing him. My friend group and his friend group merged and we spent the rest of the day walking around, going on rides, and catching up, and chatting with some of his Spanish friends (in Spanish!).


During the summer of 2013 at JKCP, I became best friends with a group of Dominicans. We arrived the same week and left the same week, which could not have been better. On our last day together, we were all really sad and emotional, but promised to stay in touch with whatsapp. In my mind, I never thought I would see them again unless they came to Miami, because I was not planning on going to the Dominican Republic anytime soon. A year passed, and the summer of 2014 was coming up. I decided that in addition to JKCP, I was also going to try another program at Yale. When I arrived there after JKCP, I was so scared because I didn't know anyone. I dropped off my luggage and started walking towards the Quad. I didn’t know a soul in the whole place. All of a sudden, I saw a group of people running up to me screaming and yelling BRETT! BRETT! BRETT!!!. At first, I was super confused and had no idea who these people were. As they came closer, I realized it was my Dominican friends! For the next 20 minutes, we talked about some old memories and things we had done in the past year. We were catching up with each other, but they abruptly had to leave and go back to their dorms. I didn’t care, because I knew I would be seeing a whole lot more of them in the weeks to follow. I always had someone to talk to and hangout with. Over the next few weeks, we became as close as we were at JKCP. We really hadn’t felt that far away during the school year, because we had being talking a lot in a group text on WHATSAPP.


The connections that I made with my Dominican friends at JKCP were the reason that I enjoyed my time at this new program. I still talk to my Dominican friends to this day. These stories are ones that I will always keep with me. The benefits of the relationships I make at JKCP are endless and I know they will continue for years to come!

 What summer program is right for you?


Topics: JKCP Student Spotlight

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