Giacomo is a 19-year-old student from Brescia (Italy) who bravely decided to take a gap year after finishing high school in order to decide what to do with his future. He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do, but he knew that he wanted to improve his English skills, so he contacted us to organise his trip. No sooner said than done; Giacomo travelled to the US for an intense experience on an authentic American campus, with great results. At the end of his stay, he decided to share his experience with us; this is his story.
For 6 months, I lived on a real American campus, in New Jersey. The campus is called Rider University, and compared to other American schools, it’s not very big (but it is for Italians!), but it’s very nice, well organised, clean and efficient.
The reason I chose to go to New Jersey is because it’s one of the few programmes with a language schools located on campus; this allowed me to interact not only with international students, but also with Americans.
My classmates were all international students. The rest of the campus was shared with Rider’s students: the canteen, the gym, the recreational centre, the different clubs and much more.
From September 2016 to March 2017, I lived in one of those dorms with more than 50 other people. The Centennial House hosts students from around the world, so now I have friends on different continents! I have already been invited to Colombia, Venezuela, China, Japan and Malaysia.
The friendships I made in the US are strong and genuine, and I hope they will last forever. Actually, I am sure they will; in these kinds of experiences, 6 months feel like 6 years.
As much as my friends played an essential part in my experience at the Rider University, I also studied and achieved high results: I took a 24-week intensive course and thanks to my teachers and my preparation, I got great results on both the TOEFL and IELTS certification exams.
Also, Kings Education – my English school within the campus – gave me a kind of job while I was staying there: I was the “social ambassador” for Kings New Jersey! My task was to manage the school’s social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) and to involve the other students in different activities. This even earned me a recommendation letter from the director!
In conclusion, I am so glad I made this choice last summer; these kinds of experiences are unforgettable! Thank you so much to all my new friends, to the amazing staff at Kings Education NJ, and to ESL, which sent me to the right place.
Giacomo’s experience shows that a language stay can act as a springboard for a future career: two language certifications and a recommendation letter won’t go unnoticed!