Students experienced snow, skiing, and the cold for the first time at WESLI's Winter Camp 2023. WESLI hosted students from Panama for English and winter activities during January and February. Despite unusual warm temperatures to begin, the snow fell and students were able to enjoy the joys of winter.
Most of the students had never experienced snow and snow activities. Each student had a full tour of skiing, sledding, ice skating, snow showing, and snowman making. Madison, Wisconsin - where WESLI is located - received 5 inches of snow in one day resulting in Snow Day festivities like snowball fights, snow angels, and snowmen. Madison is located between two large lakes, which freeze during the winter, so students were able to walk on the lake and attend a Winter Festival on the lake.
Students also got the chance to connect with local high school students with a local high school partner. Students really enjoyed the connection and ranked it as one of their favorite activities.
Language courses were offered with a cultural or academic focus for students. With up to four weeks in the Camp, students optimized their language improvement through classes that focused on culture, communication, every day language, and academic language and skills.
Students stayed with homestay families and experienced authentic, local culture with community families. Students choosing the Student Residence learned skills for preparing them for more independence, which students commented they really enjoyed through the experience.
"I learned a lot in my classes and really enjoyed the different topics we discussed," said Maria, a student in the Winter Camp.
"I really enjoyed the skiing activity. It was my favorite. Everything about winter is so pretty and very different than where I come from," said Sofia.
Jose said "the snow activities and ice skating were my favorite. Everyone at WESLI was really nice and we got to meet students from around the world that were also attending WESLI,"
Next year's Winter Camp will begin accepting applications after the Spring.