Summer camp is a success

31st August 2012 at 01:00
Youths affected by 911 travel to Telford College and get a taste of Scotland, as Julia Belgutay reports

Edinburgh's Telford College has hosted the Scottish leg of a special summer camp for 25 young people affected by the 911 tragedy, which aims to showcase Britain as a desirable further and higher education hub.

The youngsters from New York, New Jersey and Boston, aged 15 to 17, were selected through the British Council's UK 911 Scholarships Fund. It provides support to study in the UK for young people who have lost a parent, or had a parent severely injured, in the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

The group was welcomed by college staff and students, as well as first minister Alex Salmond, who sent a video message from the Isle of Skye, and representatives of Lothian and Border Fire and Rescue. They were also treated to a performance by piping and drumming band Clanadonia.

The youngsters spent four days in Scotland, taking part in a range of further education activities at Telford, as well as visiting tourist attractions. They also took in the Edinburgh festival atmosphere with a walk down the Royal Mile before travelling on to England and Wales.

Julia Weedon, head of international development at Telford, said she hoped many of them would return to Scotland to study, possibly even at Telford.

Many of the young people have met up regularly since 2001 and developed close bonds. "It is great to see this and experience it with people you are really close to," says Emma Sweeney, 16, from Boston.

Jessica Wisnienski, 17, from New Jersey, said she was seriously considering studying in the UK, and Casey Spor, 17, from New York, said she had never been out of the country before and might be interested in coming back for a semester abroad as part of her degree.

Joey Kirk, education communications coordinator at the British Council, said he hoped the youngsters would "gain a better sense of what the UK has to offer both culturally and educationally".

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