- Shared Pasts, Bright Futures
The 16- to 18-year-olds who joined the British Council in our second year of organizing the UK 9/11 Summer Camp traveled from up and down the East Coast of the U.S. to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of modern Britain. Each had endured the death or serious injury of a parent on September 11, and many had met before in other programs for the children of 9/11 victims, including Americas Camp, Tuesday's Children and Project Common Bond.
While the teens were united by their pasts, the UK Summer Camp focused on their futures. The trip is designed to expose the American teens' to educational opportunities in the UK, to pursue degree or study abroad programs (for which they may also find financial support through our 9/11 Scholarship Fund). The program is funded by the UK toy company Merryweather, Ltd. and the World Trade Center Diaster Fund.For more information about the program, visit our website. But first, join us on a virtual journey assembled from the blog dispatches, postcards, videos and photos that the group sent us back in the States while they were on the road.
Departure Day: New York
The teens traveled from their hometowns to New York City to depart for the UK together. To send them off, the UK Consul General for New York, Sir Alan Collins, hosted afternoon tea for the teens and their families.
For many, this would their first trip to the UK. Before they disembarked, we asked them what they were looking forward to and captured their pre-departure impressions of British culture.
The first stop was Edinburgh, where the group had five days to explore the sights and visit local universities. A walk down the Royal Mile, a ghost tour, visits to Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland, a hike up Arthur's Seat and dinner at a local fish and chip shop all introduced the teens to the unique beauty of Scotland's capital.
The teens visited the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University while in Scotland, and on both campuses they were given a taste of the student experience. At the University of Edinburgh they met their young peers in the Scottish Youth Theater and got a chance to act out their impressions of Edinburgh so far. They might have felt a chill in the northern air, but it didn't put a damper on their smiles.
Bringing Harry Potter into the Classroom
With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 scheduled to hit theaters at the end of the trip, it is little surprise that the teens were watching for Harry Potter references everywhere they went. After receiving lessons in multimedia editing in Napier's high-tech "future meeting room," they set out to record their own interviews with locals. What was the question on the tip of their tongues? They asked for their interviewees' thoughts on the upcoming final film, of course. Later, en route between Edinburgh and London, the teens stopped at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where the movies were filmed.
From Edinburgh, the group headed down to London, where they saw the city from every angle: from the ground on a double-decker bus, from the water on a river cruise and even from the air in a ride on the London Eye.
- In the midst of their sightseeing, the teens took a break to celebrate their friend Victoria's birthday. As Victoria wrote on the blog, it was a day to remember.
OxfordAfter arriving in London, the UK 9/11 Summer Camp took a day trip to Oxford, where they toured the university and tried their hand at punting on the river. They also heard about what it's like to study in the UK from Matthew Morton, an American student working on his D.Phil at Oxford who was named International Student of the Year in 2009 at Oxford.