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Summer Schools - Students’ Experiences

Summer schools are highly anticipated parts of GZAAT students' academics. It's a chance for them to learn new things they’re interested in, get ahead in the subjects they’re planning on pursuing, or even explore topics they haven’t thought about before. Students attend to summer schools willingly while they’re supposed to be on their summer vacations, which proves how  good they are at attracting students. These programs help students grow academically and personally, they're about discovering passions, exploring new places, making friends from all over the world, and having fun while learning. GZAAT students from different grades are eager to attend schools they’ve found to be compatible with. One of the Journalists from the Gazette decided to explore this topic and interview some of the students.

Journalist:  What was your experience in the school? what parts of it did you like/didn't like?

Marita Beridze (Freshman): I attended Oxford’s Art Summer School in London. I liked meeting and getting to know new people, especially the part when I was teaching them some Georgian words and phrases. School trips to London were also quite fun and interesting. I loved the dorms, too. There wasn’t really much that I didn’t like.

Luka Shalikadze (Senior): I went to Columbia Summer Immersion Program in New York for 3 weeks. It was one of the best experiences. Going to the school and settling into the dorm rooms, meeting new people was a great experience. Meeting a professor who actually has a lot of knowledge and experience in the field was a great thing too. Ability to ask the questions and share their huge experience is one of the best chances that a student might get. Everything was good, other than the curfew that the school had for us at 11 PM at night. It was kind of limiting, but being in the center of NYC, it had a good reasoning behind it. 

Nikoloz Salakaia and Shoti Sikharulidze (Seniors): We went to Harvard Summer 7-week Secondary School Program. We spent almost two months in Cambridge, Greater Boston Area, and lived on the Harvard Campus. Overall, the program was super nice, gained lots of knowledge, experience, and made lots of networks and got new friends. The hardest part of the program was being away from our home almost the whole summer. Not being able to have fun with our friends and enjoy the summer vacation with your family was not pleasant, but in the end I think that our experience was worth it.

Journalist: Describe how you would spend a typical day in the school.

Marita Beridze: During the usual day, I got up and went to breakfast. I had my first two lessons and then a lunch break, then another lesson and that’s it. After that we would have free time to go outside of the school, go shopping or just go out. In the evening, we’d have dinner and after that we would have a meeting with our teachers where we discussed the following days’ plans or trips. Our day ended with the bedtime set for us. 

Luka Shalikadze: Typical day consisted of waking up and going to the first 1 hour and 30 minute lecture. After the first lecture, we had 2 hours of rest/lunch time and then we returned for another lecture for 1 hour and a half. After the lectures, I tried to finish the homework as fast as I could. Some days of the week, we had tours around NYC, for example, in Central Park or Brooklyn. If not, I joined basketball games in the gym with other students or New Yorkers. In the evening, boys on my floor would play video games or just talk. Then do it all over again. 

Nikoloz Salakaia and Shoti Sikharulidze: We had lectures 4 times a week (we took 2 undergraduate credit level courses). On Lecture days, Shoti and I would wake up at around 10 AM, have breakfast, and then go to the 3 hour lecture at noon. After Lecture we attended extra discussion and support hours, and finally in the evening we worked on our homeworks or projects, if we had any. On Fridays, we would go to different universities' campus tours (including Boston University, Northeastern, Bentley, MIT, Brown, Tufts, Boston College, etc.) On weekends we would go to Boston to hang out with friends and have some fun.

Journalist:  Do you think summer schools are useful/important for students? Why?

Marita Beridze:  First of all, summer schools are very fun and very useful for those who may need to improve their social skills. It could also be very educational and beneficial for the student if they choose a course that they’re interested in. Summer schools offer a lot of different courses for kids who may have interests like drama art, maybe students who are already preparing to be future doctors and nurses. They offer such a large variety of subjects that it would be hard for somebody to not find the school they’re not interested in.

Luka Shalikadze: In my opinion, summer schools are very important for students. Firstly, it gives us a chance to experience what university life really is. It also gives us a chance to become adults for ourselves in another country. That time period is full of new lessons, like are you ready for adulthood or not. For me, it gave me a chance to meet new people with whom I keep in contact with even today. It was one of the best decisions to go to summer school.

Nikoloz Salakaia and Shoti Sikharulidze: I think that summer schools are very important for students. Besides its appearance on your applications for universities, they give you a great experience, where you meet new people, perspectives, and cultures. 

Overall, summer schools have shown to be a good and a useful experience, as well as a good time investment for future plans. Students gain and develop new skills which they will find useful when moving on to the next stages of their lives. These kinds of programs show how school is not just about academics and grades, but also about being able to be self-reliant, gaining better understandings about ourselves, and being a little more experienced before stepping into the independent world.

Edited by: Keto Kapianidze

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