Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering undergraduate student Zoe Dickson stands in the middle of the James Weir Engineering corridor smiling at the camera

Zoe Dickson

My American Summer

Zoe is our resident Year 2 student studying Mechanical Engineering with International Study (MEng). After an action-packed first year (dancing, cheerleading, skydiving and more), Zoe went on to spend the summer in America. Let's see how she got on.

So, how was your summer?

America was so, SO good. I genuinely had an absolute ball, it was so much fun.

I was at camp for two months and then I went traveling for a month afterward. I absolutely loved camp – it was your stereotypical American summer camp. Every stereotype you can think of, yeah, that was it.

What did you do at camp?

I was the dance specialist. During the day I would take six or seven sessions for kids of different age groups. I'd teach dancing but I also did a lot of coaching gymnastics and cheerleading as well. That was my job during the day.

The amount of time it takes 11 seven/ eight-year-olds to put on shoes and socks! Unbelievable.

Everyone had a group of kids to look after. I had the youngest girls – 7 and 8 – and I loved them to bits! I was their mum for the summer! I had to deal with homesickness, wetting the bed – all the not so good things that come with children but I absolutely adored them!

I had to get them up in the morning and get them dressed. They also couldn’t reach their wardrobes so I had to get all their stuff down! Then I took them to breakfast and of course, had to make sure everyone was eating healthily and following the parents’ dietary requirements! They [the girls] couldn’t pour without spilling everywhere and they can’t go to the toilet by themselves so you have to take them! It was very full on, and I would do that for every meal time.

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering undergraduate student Zoe Dickson sits down on a ledge in the James Weir Engineering corridor and smiles at the camera

In the evening, I would spend the time with my own group of kids and there were all sorts of traditions. We had a food fight one time, and there were all sorts of competitive things going on; sports, we would have time down at the lake. It was great. We had a campfire every week and sang songs and roasted marshmallows.

At the end of the summer, we had this thing where we shared out top ten memories. One of their memories was my accent [laughs]! Just because of things I say, like ‘wellies’; they call them ‘rain boots’.

I say 'trainers’ and they call them ‘sneakers’. ‘Jumper’ was ‘sweater’ and ‘bin’ was ‘trash can’. So, I just loved it.

What was your favourite part?

The most important thing I got from it was the people I met. They were incredible – Americans and people from all over. That was what made it for me. We’d spend our days off in Philadelphia or New York City, or at the beach or by lakes – it was so good. It was so incredible.

So tell me about your month of traveling.

I went traveling afterward with a few of the girls who I was close with. We went to New York, Boston, Chicago, Niagra Falls, Washington DC, Philadelphia then back home again. I just had such a good time – I didn’t want to come home! I definitely want to go away next summer again.

I learned a lot about American culture and things I didn’t expect, too.

So, what's next?

I've definitely caught the travel bug. I’ve been on quite a few little holidays this (academic) year so far and I’m just back from Budapest. I just want to go and see the world!

I’ve also applied for my year abroad next year. So far, I’ve applied to Canada, Denmark, and Prague. I'll keep you posted!