The summer months between college semesters can be perfect for multiple reasons for students. From opportunities for vacations to chances to grow in important job skills, summer can be an incredibly formative time. Student Emily Palm is combining both of those possibilities together this summer with her job with The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), serving as a counselor abroad and growing in her critical thinking and leadership skills along the way.

Palm, who also competes on the college’s cross-country team in between her studies during the academic year, is working with the middle school summer program at TASIS. An American boarding school and summer program, TASIS prepares students from Europe and other countries for higher education by providing advanced language, science, and mathematics courses, immersing them in the arts such as photography, theater, and music, and helping them experience the wealth of cultures that Europe has to offer.

Palm is working primarily as a chaperone and supervisor for the students, helping them learn and grow during activities in Switzerland and Italy. The position, which involves supervising 10-13 year old students, demands leadership and critical thinking — skills Palm is learning through her Christendom education.

“I am definitely using the critical thinking skills that I have developed through Christendom’s core curriculum since I am in very new and different situations, in which I am in a position of leadership,” says Palm. “The language, philosophy, and mathematics courses that I have taken are enabling me to engage with the students about what they are learning, and I am using my own Christendom foundation to appreciate whatever I am learning from TASIS’s courses myself.”

Palm is not the first Christendom student or alum to work with TASIS. Graduates Leif Pilegaard (’16) and Joey Kuplack (’17) both served as counselors during summer programs for TASIS as well, while the middle school program that Palm is working with is directed by alumnus Marc Pierre Jansen, a history major from 2002.

During each session of the program, Palm is guiding students through film and theater classes, day trips and overnight trips to locations in Switzerland and Italy, and sports such as soccer, basketball, and swimming. It is a lot to handle, but the experience is also giving Palm the opportunity to refine her communication and creative skills.

“I am working on my interactions with fellow counselors and students and also thinking on my feet and making quick, creative decisions,” concludes Palm.

Spending a summer abroad is a dream for many college students. Palm is living that dream, and learning important skills that she will be able to use in any future career at the same time, while making herself an even better student for her remaining years at Christendom as well.

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