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AMP Global Scholar 2019 Review

blalalalalalablalalalalala 0 replies1 threads New Member
If you are more interested in the intricacies of International Relations as opposed to social justice and organizing, this program is not for you. This program was very disorganized and lacks a structured, academic curriculum (Almost no curriculum!!!). Even though I made many friends, by the end I was exhausted, disappointed, and extremely frustrated. Although its price competitive compared to other summer programs, that is at the expense of quality in terms of curriculum, food and housing, and excursions. When I got there I felt that a lot of the descriptions and reviews of the program had been very misleading. For example, the cafeteria food was awful (very long lines, staff seemed overwhelmed, very little options for those with dietary restrictions) and with all the quality and unique restaurants around D.C, I’m surprised we didn’t eat out for dinner even once! The fact that the staff had to scramble to find us places to eat, especially on the night of the monument walk, showcases very poor planning. We had very little free time during the day unless you count occasional 30-minute transitional periods. The lessons and meetings were very long and dragged out. I was absolutely exhausted almost the entire time.
In terms of communication, their emails are ridden with spelling and punctuation errors, and during the program a majority of communication between staff and students was via a groupchat. It was very difficult to tell what was important and what wasn't, which led to a lot of confusion about when we needed to meet, the nature of assignments, where to go etc. It was also common for important information to be sent out late at night and/or get lost in the constant stream of questions and pictures.
On the subject of sight-seeing: Washington D.C is so rich and full of places I would have wanted to go, but we had virtually no freedom to explore the city and a lot of the sightseeing felt really boring and "fieldtrip-esque".
Education for All, the United Nations Foundation, and the World Bank were all useless and the people there didn't discuss anything that you couldn't google.
I tried to give the benefit of the doubt, but I just ended up being extremely disappointed and it felt like this whole program was centered around the mission of getting me to join the Peace Corps and pursue a future in social justice. This program is all about social justice and advocacy, not international relations. This is not to say that the people who run it are ill-intentioned or anything, but unfortunately it just doesn't seem like they are qualified or have the resources to host a program like the one they promised.
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Replies to: AMP Global Scholar 2019 Review

  • KarenStaffKarenStaff 2 replies0 threads New Member
    We are always grateful for feedback on the program and the Global Scholar experience. While the *vast* majority of participants love this experience, we appreciate feedback that challenges us. Your review warrants a response as it stands out so starkly from the overwhelmingly great feedback we received about last summer’s program (Check out reviews from the rest of our 2019 participants here: https://ampglobalyouth.org/global-scholar-impact/).

    Students who attend Global Scholar stand out because of their passion for global issues, their curiosity about the world around them, and their eagerness to lead change in their communities. The Global Scholar program focuses on who we ARE in the world, as much as what we KNOW about the world. We make it very clear that the program centers on 1) exploring global challenges through conversations with experts in the field, 2) building skills for social change through our signature Action Lab workshops, and 3) exploring careers in international affairs. The skill-building element of our program makes us stand out from any other program on global issues, and we highlight it extensively in all of our materials. While that may not be what you were looking for, it’s definitely what we promised. (Refer to our website here: https://ampglobalyouth.org/global-scholar-curriculum/).

    In this review and in a separate anonymous feedback you sent us you have belittled your peers, the staff, the curriculum and the speakers. You seem to have closed yourself off to the learning ever-present in the world around you. That is a huge loss. We urge you to do better.

    Think you're smarter than your peers? Our class this year was stellar. We hope you took time to engage, debate and learn from them.

    Unimpressed with the leaders and organizations you met during this program, including the World Bank, United Nations Foundation, or Aspen Institute (to quote your review)? Why? These are leading global institutions. What should exist in their place? How could you be part of transforming them?

    Engage constructively and with integrity. Your direct feedback to us was deeply disrespectful (including cursing at program staff) and anonymous. Own your opinions. Don't write things you wouldn't put your name on. Stand behind what you believe. The world needs that.  

    Finally, we will certainly keep your comments about food and museums in mind for next year. We visit both the food trucks and the American History Museum because earlier generations of Scholars loved those experiences. And it’s a long-standing and popular tradition to have Ethiopian food on the last night!

    We’ve run this program for the past 12 years, and more broadly engaged over 100,000 youth since we were founded by students at Yale after 9/11, because we believe so deeply in the power of young leaders to transform our world. That includes you. We hope you’ll keep exploring issues you care about, learn from those around you, engage critically, and do great things. Our faith in you is unwavering.
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  • Sara-GS AlumniSara-GS Alumni 1 replies0 threads New Member
    This review is not reflective of my experience at all. I absolutely loved being with a tenacious, considerate, and respectful cohort for an intensive two week deep dive into international relations and global citizenship. The days were full of workshops, discussions, sightseeing, and hands-on activities that made the time fly by. The intensity of the program makes the panel discussions more intriguing. By the end of two weeks, I made friends from all over the country and learned how to turn my concerns into actions in a respectful, constructive manner. I am truly grateful for my experience with Global Scholar and can extend the lessons I learned into my thoughts, words, and everyday actions.
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  • gsalum2019gsalum2019 1 replies0 threads New Member
    This review severely overemphasizes the program's shortcomings and underestimates its advantages. I found the vast majority of the sessions we attended to be highly informative and interesting - we got to speak with industry experts at the Aspen Institute, the State Department, and more, all of whom were more than happy to teach us about the intricacies of their work and who served as valuable connections. The reviewer also mischaracterized some of the supposedly less interesting places we visited - yes, the World Bank was underwhelming, but that led to a very productive discussion about the role of the World Bank in developing economies and encouraged us to question the institutions of power we've long viewed as static and unchanging. The Action Lab sessions were also outstanding. I initially was skeptical about the idea of skill-building workshops, which sound trite and overdone, but in the end I was blown away by the quality of the activities we participated in and discussions we held. I ended up learning not just about the outside world but about myself and the importance of the decisions I make.

    Regarding the quality of life at Global Scholar - yes, American University's dining halls do not serve gourmet fare, but a) what university does? and b) the staff had no control over that. I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dorms/living situation. I myself greatly enjoyed visiting the Natural and American History museums, and we ate out at food trucks and local restaurants at least four or five times over the course of two weeks - compared to the other summer programs I've attended, that's way more than average. I agree that sometimes things got a little hectic and fast-paced, but I enjoyed having jam-packed days and I felt that I had plenty of time to hang out with the amazing friends I made. Considering all the different locations we visited and the size of our cohort, I thought the staff did a great job.

    Please do not be dissuaded from attending this program because of this review. If you're looking for a camp that will help you learn about yourself and your world, I would strongly encourage that you apply.
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  • PabalaentlePabalaentle 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I strongly disagree. My experience at AMP Global Scholar was one of the most memorable moments. As an activist, a legislature, and a change maker, it was quite informative for me. I learnt a lot from both the peers, including yourself and the speakers, more especially from the United Nations Association, professor Kwaku Nuamah whom I am still in contact with, the Aspen Institute and the embassy of Colombia. I also enjoyed the action labs, mainly because the facilitators take a scenario that one would never think about and implement it to the situation at hand.

    I would definitely recommend Global Scholar if you are more interested in change making and international relations. I honestly enjoyed my experience and I wouldn't trade it for any other camp.
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  • GSalumna2019GSalumna2019 1 replies0 threads New Member
    This review is very unfair: it completely does not reflect my opinion of the program and I feel sad to know that it might prevent someone from applying to such a great program right in heart of Washington D.C.
    The program was not disorganized at all. We were given schedules on the first day and knew what to expect - the time was filled up with many interesting things to do or meetings to attend. In fact, we also were meant to prepare before going to places like the UN Foundation, World Bank or meeting with our Senators, so it was not that we had no clue what we were doing. We got to explore both practical and theoretical aspects of international relations, social justice, and public activism.
    While I am also interested in international relations just as you are, indicating from your review, I consider the program to be a valuable experience and something which I would recommend doing. It is true: we did not waste hours going through classroom-like theory of international relations. We get straight to the practical and living aspect of it by visiting various institutions and talking to experts and workers in the field of diplomacy, as well as public and foreign service. We were; however, given a reading before the program that gave us an overlook of the most important parts of the academic theory of IR and what we were doing over those two weeks, was putting all that you can read or learn about, in a context that might seem abstract.
    If it was not for Global Scholar, I could have dreamt of many things, like speaking to the Ambassador of Niger, meeting with a senator in their office, asking the diplomats about their daily life at work or getting to know all the inside-out of many international organizations, including NGOs or thinktanks. This program was very broad and encouraging to put everything in a broad perspective. Before I came there, I had a completely different view on what I think one who is interested in international relations can do, but after this program, I have seen so many options opened.
    I have also met wonderful people during those two weeks, both from the US and abroad, which was also a part of priceless experience. Besides, the staff at the camp was very helpful and welcoming. They were very honest with us and showed us positive and negative aspects of institutions we were visiting, encouraging us to always form our own opinions. They did not impose any point of view on us whatsoever. In fact, I never felt as comfortable with talking about my perspective as I did there. They spent so much effort to ensure that everything runs smoothly. We had daily evening meetings during which we were informed about the plans for the next day, so WhatsApp was not the only form of communication, but a facilitator of it and a reminder of where to go next in case any of us has forgotten.
    Overall, I can only wish that your words do not do harm to the program as it would be a shame. It was the best summer camp that I have been to and I hope that people don't get a biased image of it just because of one frustrated voice on the internet.
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  • flowersunflowersun 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Actually, I had a very different experience than you at the program this summer. Firstly, the schedules we were given on our first night there were actually very well planned and I feel that we did stick to them and get the most out of the program because we knew what would be happening when. They truly did provide a structure to those two weeks, and we were also told each night what the expectations would be for the following day.
    You speak about the cafeteria food being limited in options. As a person with dietary restrictions myself, i was still able to find different things to eat most days. Also, we were dining in the AU dining hall along with people from other programs. It makes no sense to blame our program for the general campus dining provided to all the different programs.
    We did have a packed schedule, but that was necessary for us to experience everything that we were able to experience! You say that we didn't have free time, but we had a few days where we were able to wake up late, the monument walk, and I believe even upwards of half of one of the days was just complete free time. I personally appreciated all this free time, and even on the days with packed schedules, when I wanted to talk to my friends, we would stay up at night and have a great time.
    You also criticize the communication, but all I can say is that I truly believe a groupchat is the best way to communicate with a group like this. Email is far less conducive to conversation that goes both ways, but the groupchat allowed us to ask questions and get quick responses.
    Overall, we did get the chance to meet a lot of renowned people and see interesting places. Yes, the camp wasn't two weeks of intense academic study about international relations, but that is what drew many of us to it. They did state that we would be learning about ways to make change AS WELL AS careers in international relations and more. The skills that they gave us were taught in a less traditional and more fun and interactive way, and I don't see how you can complain about that. If you did want a textbook-heavy, academic class, you should have researched about the program more, because they do indicate that they are trying to shape leaders for tomorrow. Additionally, you could stand to benefit from broadening your horizons and being more positive. Although you had issues with the program, think of everything you gained from it. It was a great experience to me and to so many others I know.
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  • radhikamehtaradhikamehta 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Hello prospective parents and students reading this!!

    I am a past Global Scholar Alumni. My name is Radhika Mehta. I attended Global Scholar summer of 2018. I attended the first session as a rising senior. I would like to express to you how much I have loved this program and what I experienced as a scholar. I have not seen another program in the world that cares about its students the same way as Global scholar. I have attended nearly 6-7 programs in my high school and current college career and this one has not met its match. The time, effort, and love put into this program is awe-inspiring. I have never met such determined and passionate people who care more about its students than they do.

    This program is a first and foremost an International Relations program. I believe that if one is supposed to teach about the inner workings of the world and what the “relations” are, it is important to fully understand the system we live in and how we live in it. Knowing a background in social issues facing our youth today is imperative, and to “change the world” you can’t start by changing governments; you need change the communities we live in first. The curriculum was thought provoking and may have been difficult at times but it was there. I believe that AMP Global Scholar does this. They activate youth by bringing these issues into the light, and giving the proper knowledge needed to help and change the problems we see everyday.

    I would like to say that this program take place at one of Washington D.C.’s most prominent universities and the food selection isn’t controlled by the program. The university may host and provide for the scholars and program, but the menu is created under university regulations and staff. In regards to eating out, it may be a hard time trying to find a restaurant that is “unique,” fits everyones dietary restrictions, geographically close, fits the itinerary, and also can fit nearly 15-20 people. That being said, it may be frustrating to not eat out all the time but the fact of the matter is, they tried their best.

    I think the most candid and unique emails came from this organization. I think to be apart of a family that they have so openly create, no one should focus on the spelling and grammar errors but the message itself; we definitely know they were. The respect and love they have, come from the passion they put in the message not their grammar to be frank.

    Ahh yes! the subject of sight-seeing! Of course! Washington D.C. is beautiful. It has an amazing history and is full of adventures, but this isn’t a summer camp; it is a program designed for intensive learning. When entering this program it was made known that this program expects late nights, readings, homework, and though provoking conversations. Seeing a little of the city was made when walking to prominent organizations in downtown D.C. and walking to Capitol Hill from the National Mall to meet with senators and representatives. As to seeing the city and having freedom to go on excursions by yourself, I came into this program at 17 as did a lot of other students, some even younger. Global Scholar is responsible for the safety of the scholars. Allowing them to leave and sight-see isn’t safe, so yes scholars must follow their guidelines.

    The matter of organizations that we met with… just getting the meeting with these people was impressive. Getting time to introduce ourselves and talk about issues we were passionate about with organizations that are the front of these topics was very notable especially because this is a new program and it can be hard to get a meeting with leaders in these fields for a high school program. Along with this, we got their contact info and got to discuss with them our passions and what we want to do with out life; many global scholars are still in touch with some of them today.

    I am a current Global Scholar Alumnus and apart of the AMP Global Scholar Alumni Board. Not only have I had an internship with the program but I am planning on continuing my involvement with them. I received a very kind and beautifully written letter of recommendation by Vanessa Faloye, Global Scholars Chief Trainer, discussing my involvement in the program, the GSAB, my internship for college. Without her encouragement and support I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am currently an undergraduate student at American University. Majoring in International Relations and Political Science and plan on going to law school, in hopes to change and become an activist for social issues that impact black/brown communities all over America and the world.
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