Confused about what to do this summer?

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From deep sea diving to an international science camp, there are plenty of activities to keep students busy this summer.

 It’s time for summer holidays to roll in again and with it months of free time. While relaxing is an important part of vacations, there are also many ways to use this time productively. Summer camps and schools around the country offer plenty of opportunities to have fun while you learn. Research, in fact, shows that experiential learning helps one retain and understand much more. And a change of environment always does everyone some good.

“Learning outdoors really helps people transform into individuals with confidence and spirit. It promotes active learning through excitement, fun and adventure. People also learn how to co-exist with the environment and others around them as team work plays a huge part in outdoor camps,” says Saurabh Saklani, co-founder and director, INME, which promotes outdoor-based activities and camps. Whether the idea of learning a new language excites you or you wish to cut off contact with the world and lose yourself at a remote hiking camp, there’s something to suit everyone’s interests and budget. Creative writing, music, dance, drama, film, science, adventure sports, linguistic and cooking schools are just some of the examples of the various activities that one can pursue over the summer.

“I noticed that while my children were really excited to sleep late and do no work for the first few weeks of their holidays, they eventually get bored and restless. I introduced them to an art and pottery school at the Sanskriti Museum in Delhi. They loved it and had a great time. This year they have already asked to join a dance programme at Ashley Lobo. Learning skills outside of the classroom is different, more fun and important for character development,” says Drishya Magar, a housewife from Delhi.

But one does not have to live in a city in order to attend summer camp. There are many schools who take children for treks and trips to nearby towns and attractions. Or if one really wants a complete change of environment, the option to apply for summer school abroad also exists. The UK, US, Australia, France and Germany are popular amongst students wishing to pursue short-term certificate courses over the summer. The experience also pays off if one wishes to apply to the same university for a full-time course. “I attended an economics summer school at the University of London. It helped me understand the application process better and make important connections. I feel this helped me secure a place in the university later on for my masters degree,” says Naresh Saandhu, 22.

Be it for educational purposes or just to have fun, there are plenty of options to ensure your summer does not go to waste.

Thrill seekers
This one is for the serious outdoor adventure seeker with camping, hiking, trekking, river rafting and rock climbing all rolled into one daring package. Right in the lap of the picturesque Himalayas, the camping trail allows one to get first-hand acquaintance with nature. From rugged mountainous terrain, ice-cold streams, picture perfect orchards and imposing woods, camping through the mountains is a summer experience like no other.
Most camping trips also consist of educational lectures on various practices like river crossing and knot making. While some trips require self-cooking for a more wholesome training others do provide food. Some also provide sweepers to ensure that the camp is kept clean at all times. Outdoor camps are held by INME during summer months and there’s always one to suit every age and budget.

Inspiration in the lab
Held from July to August each year, this science summer school provides students an opportunity to spend four weeks at Cambridge University. The setting is perfect for science enthusiasts as this is where some of the world’s most renowned scientific discoveries were made including the discovery of the laws of motion and calculus by Sir Isaac Newton, the discovery of DNA double helix by Francis Crick and James D. Watson and the discovery of hydrogen by Henry Cavendish. The programme is divided into two sections, science term I and science term II, with each term consisting of two weeks of study. The student selects one course for each of the four weeks spent at the university. The courses are wide ranging from ‘introduction to social psychology’, ‘materials science, energy generation and sustainability’ to ‘codes, ciphers and secrets: an introduction to cryptography’.In order to apply candidates need to have completed at least one year at an institute of higher education. The fee for the summer programme is 1,035 pounds for each term. This is the perfect summer camp for anyone who just cannot get enough of the world of science.

Into the blue
There’s no better way to spend a summer vacation than to seek the thrill of deep sea scuba diving in the breathtaking underwater locales of the Arabian Sea. The unspoilt landscape of Andaman islands have some of the most popular diving sites in the country with pristine blue waters, awe-inspiring coral reefs and a large variety of vibrant aquatic life. Deep sea diving is not merely an adventurous outing but can often turn out to be a spiritually rejuvenating experience.

Most diving institutes use trainers from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to ensure a safe and professional diving exercise for both beginners as well as advanced divers. Both deep sea diving and scuba diving camps are held in the Andamans during the months of April, May and June. One does not need prior experience in order to sign up but it is important not to have any health problems that can affect you while diving. Some camps do require a basic knowledge of swimming while others also teach you to swim if need be. Prices range from between Rs 4,500 and Rs 7,000 per session. So book your flight, put on your swimsuit and learn a fun new skill this summer.

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