Beware of Summer Camp

Instruction: 1
Support: 1
Fun: 1
Housing: 1
Value: 1

Let’s start off by saying this is based on my experience going to the summer camp in Barcelona. First off, having them contact me to ask questions before I paid the full amount for the trip was unusually difficult. Emailing was the only way they wanted to communicate with me. Looking for information on the site was limited as I had questions and wanted them answered in real time. The site was also hard to navigate and no one would explain to me the other much better option available for someone my age. I would find out it existed after my trip was completely ruined (basically the option to stay with a host family or on a residence that didn’t confine me 24/7). Throughout my stay we had to sit and wait for at least a couple hours or more daily in a common area that was packed with kids of all ages with barely anything to do. We would wait here in-between activities. The most unsettling part was that they mixed young kids and teenagers. The older kids would be swearing and generally mischievous along with some of the nearby college students smoking around the children. The counselors were overwhelmed and hardly spoke English. I get that it was a Spanish camp but it is an INTERNATIONAL Spanish camp that also taught English. Even the higher ups had a major language barrier. Now let’s start with the lessons, what a disaster. The classes were not structured and all over the place. A lot of the counselors were also the teachers so they were extra burnt out and it showed in lessons. My teacher admitted at one point that they only gave them 10 minutes to prepare each lesson. It certainly seemed like it since each day it was basically “What do you guys want to learn?”. Thankfully I was a bit advanced for the basic level that I was selected to be in so I would call out a topic for the others to learn. I was over the camp and just gave up on the lessons after hearing they were pretty bad at any level you were in. As if the lessons and the sitting around for hours at a time wasn’t bad enough, the activities were even worse. They would either keep you in the common area lawn or bring you around the back to the basketball court for some scheduled activity. They did separate the younger and older kids for this. All the activities were low budgeted despite hundreds paying thousands to attend the camp. I would overhear parents talking to the camp directors on how their children were not learning Spanish (the camp doubled as a day camp along with being residential). I must’ve overheard a dozen complaints. It was pretty laughable. The food here was also terrible. Bad quality and I saw a handful of people get sick from it the first week. I stopped eating for a few days just to try to avoid the stomach turning food. The extracurricular were also pretty boring. They either took you to the beach (two hours outside of Barcelona) or to one of Barcelona’s famous landmarks which to see the best parts of you had to pay. You would think when they put these famous landmarks on the itinerary it would be safe to assume that your fee for the camp would pay for full access to these places. Just another disappointment. The best part about the camp was the 2 days out of 2 weeks that you could venture out for yourself. This was only offered to the older kids. You of course had to be back at a certain time. They gave you five hours on a Thursday and eight hours on a Sunday. Everything was pretty much closed on a Sunday so the 8 hours you would spend wandering around trying to figure out what you should spend your only free time on. The cherry on top for this trip *drum roll* was personally getting assaulted by a counselor. I was boarding the elevator there and she used both hands to push me from stepping in. She apparently was taking a kid up so she didn’t want anyone else to board. It was totally disrespectful and even my peers were surprised. I reported her to her supervisors and they gave her a talking to and I tried to make light of the situation after she apologized. However, I did suppress some hard feelings and avoided that specific counselor whenever I could. Overall, this camp is a waste of money. I feel my experience could have been a lot better if I had known about the other option of joining a host family or a desperate residence where you were a bit more trusted to take care of yourself and see the city on your own time. Being confined majority of the time and looking at the city from your assigned room here was torturous. The only thing that kept me sane was socializing with my newly found friends (who I still talk to). I could go on about every negative detail of this camp but I will leave it here for these are the most stand out points that should persuade you from signing up.

Would you recommend this program?
No, I would not
Private Note to Provider (optional)
You’re lucky I didn’t sue.