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My Summer: Mathilda M, Year 12

  • Secondary News

After two years of travel restrictions and two months of IGCSE exams, I couldn’t wait to make the most of my new-found freedom. 

In early July, I set off for Boston to take part in Harvard University’s pre-college programme. This intensive course condenses a semester-long college-level module into just two weeks and enables students to be independent and fully experience campus life.

The module I took was a political science course entitled ‘America’s history with race and its impact on public policy.’ My tutor was a Harvard lecturer in Government and Social Studies who made every seminar really interesting, not only by encouraging lively class discussions, but by bringing her golden retriever to class. 

The course entailed daily three-hour seminars plus four hours of independent study and analysis every afternoon in preparation for the next class. Each student also completed a research project, to be submitted and presented to the group by the end of the course. My research project explored potential policy changes that could reduce racial disparities in the American justice system. In addition, we had the opportunity to choose from online lectures, some academic and others about university study skills such as professional communication and writing dissertations.

Although this was a lot of work (more than I was expecting!), the atmosphere in the class was very friendly and supportive, and many of us would study together in the beautiful, historic Widener library. I also managed to fit in plenty of social activities. These included day trips to amusement parks and Rhode Island, as well as free time with friends relaxing in the courtyard or going to local cafés and bookshops. It was the perfect balance, enabling me to meet lots of great people while getting an insight into what studying in the US might be like.

I would definitely recommend the pre-college programme to anyone who wants to learn more about a topic of interest, test their independence and meet a variety of American and international students from diverse backgrounds. Although academically challenging at times, this course was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

– By Mathilda M, Year 12