This summer I have had my life’s first work experience with a company called Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs at the University of Pennsylvania. Going abroad has never been a problem for me since I have had the chance to do it before, but I must admit that it gets me nervous every single time. I accepted the job offer because it supposed both a professional and personal challenge for me, and I am very glad I did.
Yet, I liked to think of myself as a confident young man with sharp problem solving skills. I liked to see me as a man that could deal with all sorts of jobs and tasks. I liked to believe the world was black or white, but I have learnt that there are many more shades of grey that we can even perceive.
The program consisted of both an academic part and a more typical summer camp structure in the afternoon. It was my first contact with a classroom from the other side of the desk, and I have to admit that it was the part of the job that stressed me the most, at first. I, a second year University student, was teaching teenagers from all backgrounds how to improve their international leadership skills and was seen as a role model by them. It was hard to picture myself doing it, but it happened to be the easiest part of the job. Being a Teaching Assistant with highly motivated students is not that difficult. Challenging them with new issues every day and most importantly, getting incredibly talented individuals that usually outperform their peers in high school to work together, was however very hard. The psychological aspect of my job was hence crucial. Managing groups of people that you know are often smarter than you is very delicate, and finding the equilibrium between fun activities and work was not evident. In fact, tension and competitiveness left the classroom and affected relations between students. This was the biggest and most challenging issue we had, especially because we could not anticipate it. The solution was however found with the other staff, showing how teamwork between the academic and the summer camp parts is essential in the organisation. I learnt that “being smart is easier than being kind”, as my boss used to tell us, and getting to know our kids was difficult but very rewarding.
We could meet incredible people, visit amazing organisations and arrange impressive debates. Our kids could portrait themselves as Olympic Committee delegates, UN representatives, international lawyers and judges and solve international security crises, all in Philadelphia and with visits to New York and Washington DC. Furthermore, students were embarked in an incredible awareness-building project for invisible issues that reached thousands of people through social media. All staff, also from all over the world was like a family to me and taught me valuable lessons both professional and personally. I can proudly say that I have learnt more from these kids that I have taught
An ICJ Simulation