What better way to get warmer during the coldest European season of the year than be surrounded by lovely people in a safe and friendly environment where the main goals are self-development and helping others? That was what Cumorah Academy offered to the students in the Winter Semester of 2023, which started on January 12 and ended on April 9.
The heaters were already prepared to give a cozy welcome to 57 young adults from 19 different countries: Albania, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Latvia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Peru, Romania, Spain, Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
After the arrival of the students from all the places, they were divided into groups, with approximately 10 people, in which they would share precious moments of reflection and learning throughout the semester. The groups gain points for good initiatives, and the one that achieves the highest score by the end of the semester is awarded the House Cup.
Well, when we start a new journey we cannot envision where it will take us…
Personal and Comunity Experiences
Cumorah Academy provides students with unexpected experiences in many aspects. William (20), from Brazil, saw the snow for the first time and had the opportunity to be hired as a web developer for the campus. “Those were the most remarkable experiences for me”, he said.
Firstly, the students are usually enrolled in two programs for the semester: Leadership and an additional one according to their objective (Business and Entrepreneurship, Work Focus, Online Studies, Career Skills, and English). Secondly, they apply for scholarship hours of work and play different roles on campus, according to previous experiences, which is another valuable way to develop skills.
Every semester each group is responsible for an Outreach Project that helps the local community in the Czech Republic. For example, Sarah, a student, and her group visited a kindergarten in Prague to spend a morning with kids from two to six. In this meeting, they planned three activities for kids from two to six years old: a treasure hunt, dances, and painting with their hands. Through these activities, they taught concepts like love, teamwork, honesty, and so on.
Three trips were scheduled for the Winter Semester of 2023. One for the capital, Prague, where the students got a challenge for the groups. They needed to visit historical places and send pictures to gain points. Karlov Vary was another destination visited, a city in the countryside of the Czech Republic, where they enjoyed SPA and a thermal pool!
Also, the traditional visitation to the Temple in Freiburg, Germany, was a special occasion for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ. They felt excited and glad to attend such a tranquil holy place and remember the covenants they did.
Cumorah Academy invites weekly a professional or a couple to mentor the students. These guests have backgrounds in successful businesses and careers and teach the students important lessons about leadership. The mentors inspire the youth not only because of their technical teachings but also for their character.
Besides the classes, each student has the opportunity to schedule a “one-on-one meeting” with the mentors, a special moment to create personal bounds. For William, a Brazilian student, one of the lessons that he learned from the mentors, was the importance of choosing to lead, “because this might be a way to be a better person and employee”, he concluded.
In Cumrah Academy the young adults are invited to share their hobbies, abilities, and talents in activities that might engage the whole campus. In the Winter Semester of 2023, some of them taught dancing Zumba and Bachata classes. Country-themed parties were also part of the fun moments at the end of the week.
Winter Semester Graduation
As already known, everything comes to an end. After all the effort, growth, and unforgettable memories, the students graduated and made their mark on Cumorah Academy’s history. A few students received awards for their performance in class during the semester. The leaders also received their deserved recognition for their support and service, including staff members, teachers, and others.
“The semesters are always different because people make a difference. I enjoyed the Winter Semester and I know I will enjoy the Spring Semester too. I love to see how Cumorah helps people to improve“, said Polina, a Ukrainian student in the Fall (2022) and Winter (2023) Semesters and is now an intern on the campus.