Katherine W: There is so much to say about this experience; I don’t even know where to begin! When I got accepted, I had many anxieties and concerns about the trip—would I make friends? Would I be as good as everyone else? What if nobody likes me?!? Well, Teen Ink proved all of my anxieties wrong! I met 32 kind, intelligent, down-to-earth, fashionable girls whom I will always remember. I got to know adults whom I trust and respect and who value my writing, and I received valuable one-on-one time with the teachers to really discuss my work and my future. And if that weren’t enough already, we got to experience NYC in a way that nobody else can. The Juilliard dorms and cafeteria were very nice, and the atmosphere here was incredible. The Broadway shows, the guest speakers, and the daily outings changed my life and inspired me to follow my dream of writing. It felt like the 2 weeks flew by, and I know that I am a new person because of this experience. This truly was the best 2 weeks of my entire life.
Sara A: This experience was incredible! – definitely life changing. It has helped my writing so much, and I cannot believe how much I have learned (about writing, different careers, myself, working with others, New York …) I made friends that I have to stay in touch with for a long time, met teachers that inspired and encouraged me to write and pursue my dreams and I had so much fun!
Elizabeth E: The Teen Ink NYC Writing Program is absolutely amazing and definitely has changed not only my skill level, but also my outlook and motivation for writing. At home, I never got so much time to write and just to constantly be around so many other girls who love to write, but here, I got all that. We also got to do so many activities other people would never get the chance to do such as getting to speak with accomplished people in the writing industry. The classes are just amazing, too, and have helped my writing get so much better, as well as my confidence in my writing. Everyone made so many friends with just about everyone, and I know I’ll be keeping in touch with a lot of them for a very long while. The open MIC nights were also a great way to share your work with everyone else, and this whole program was just such an amazing experience.
Kavya G: Wow, I’m honestly just not sure where to begin but there is absolutely nothing I would do to change the program because each of the activities helped me unearth or just discover a whole new thinking and evaluative process that I hadn’t really considered before. Having never been in New York I’ve seen so much in 2 weeks and had personal experiences with people that are so high up in their respective careers. That’s something I’ll never be able to experience ever again. There’s so much that it did for me in terms of self-confidence and development of my writing skills. It’s been incredible.
Emily B: As soon as I saw the video for this I was hooked. I’m so glad I applied. These couple weeks have been some of the best in my life. New York is truly an inspirational place, and I expect it will be showing up in my writing for a long time. I’ve made friends here I will be keeping in touch with for years. The diversity was amazing. We wrote a ton—not surprising since it’s a writing camp—but I was surprised to fill almost a whole binder. That’s more than I wrote in a semester of English! I can’t wait to start revising things. I feel like my writing has improved so much because of this experience. The outings were amazing as well, and the shows were spectacular.
Paige B: These two weeks have been (cliché alert) the best of my life. I have met and become close with 32 other girls who love writing, something I can’t even dream of doing at home. The teachers were so nice and willing to talk about pretty much anything, in class and out. The shows were incredible. This whole trip was more than I could even dream of, and we all have pretty active imaginations. I just didn’t want to go home.
Madeline H: This program is the best way to kickstart a writing career. You gain crucial information about every subgroup of the field, as well as experiencing it first hand. You are surrounded by relatable people and amazing writers for teachers and chaperones. You get a good sense of what’s in your future and a general knowledge about the steps you must take to achieve what you want to achieve. You also get important contacts, such as friends, teachers, etc. who can supply you with any information you’ll need later in life. Teen Ink NYC program is a great experience I will never be able to do again, and the opportunity to do this program should be jumped on if you enjoy writing classes three hours a day. Living in Julliard is wonderful; you are living in a place where art is everywhere. I definitely recommend it.
Cheyenne W: This program has helped me grow as not only a writer but also as a person. I have learned not to be close-minded. I have also learned to come out of my shell and become more outgoing. The girls were amazing; the staff was amazing. The opportunities that we were given were incredible. We met so many people and learned stuff that I probably would never had known without coming here.
Isabel S: Overall, this was an incredible journey. I met so many incredible people, as well as very accomplished. I loved having no internet, and I loved bonding with people I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do so, at least not to that level. Living in the suite was probably my favorite part; I enjoyed everyone and their little quirks. I loved getting to know the adults as well. The shows were all mind blowing, and meeting with some journalists was amazing. Talking with authors compared to professors or editors gave a well-rounded idea as to what the world of literature is like. I loved having the program be only girls!!!!!!
Darian H: The Teen Ink NYC Writing Program helps you grow and learn tremendously as a writer, no matter what type of writer you are. It’s extremely eye–opening and informing about the not so typical writing styles. Not only do you learn a lot but make a ton of friends from all over the world! Also, you get a FULL-FLEDGED New York City experience. This program is a once in a lifetime sort of deal and I’m coming out of this program a completely new person. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who sees writing in their future
Claire S: I absolutely loved this program. I grew so much as a writer and as a person. First of all, the people were fantastic. I made so many wonderful friends, and the chaperones were all kind and accessible. This is the first time I’ve had a really positive experience at a sleepaway camp. Normally, I get very homesick, but here I felt like I had a new home and was comfortable right away. The theater and other activities were all incredible. The friends I made and experiences I had were even more valuable and inspirational for my writing than the classes, though those were great too. These were two of the best weeks of my life, and I would recommend this program in an instant. My only complaint is that it had to end so soon. I wish this program ran year-round!
Rachel C: I absolutely loved my time here with Teen Ink. This program really opened my eyes to different approaches to writing and I was very inspired by many of the people I met. I can’t wait to tell my friends about all the adventures I’ve been on during this trip, and I also can’t wait to go home and work on some more writing that I’ve gotten ideas for while on this trip. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Audrey L: I entered this program with very little idea what to expect and leave it feeling not only more confident as a writer but totally overwhelmed by the amount of information regarding how to build a career as a writer I’ve received. It may have changed my career goals. It’s also amazing how close 33 girls can become over a two week period when in almost constant contact with each other. And it is no surprise, considering we are all writers, that we are all also utterly insane nerds. It’s a very intense program, not only in writing but also exploring everything New York has to offer. There’s not much downtime. But remember, you can sleep when you’re home.
Samantha F: The Teen Ink Writing Program was the best program I’ve ever been a part of. I would tell others to just go and be open to new writing. The inspiration from the city itself was great, but then getting inspiration from other girls on the trip made it even better. It was amazing to just listen to people’s ideas and hear the same passion for writing that I have. I was able to have intelligent conversations and understand where people got ideas. If you want to be a part of this program I’d suggest bracing yourself for an amazing experience. New things happen every single day and you just learn so much, but it’s all so helpful. The other girls, teachers, chaperones, and suite leaders were all so intelligent and it was the best feeling to be able to go to anyone and say can you read this? Overall I wouldn’t change anything in this program because it was a dream to be there.
Emma M: I’ve done a lot of awesome things in my life, but I don’t think I really worked as hard as I did until this [program]. Not only did I do so many fun and memorable things but I also worked and learned and helped my craft. This is what I want to do with my life so it was super helpful and fun. I made so many friends who I will never forget. Best time of my life, thus far at least.
Danielle M: The program was amazing. I am so sad it’s over. For starters, all the chaperones and teachers were so kind and helpful. I never felt intimidated by any of them. I also loved having conversations with them. Secondly, the writing experience was also great. The classes really helped my writing and inspired me. The activities we did were truly amazing and ones that I will never forget. But mostly, the friends and environment were the best. It was so incredible to be surrounded by intelligent, motivated and passionate young women who I was able to connect with and get along with instantly. I never felt judged or uncomfortable and have become so close to all of them. This program will forever impact me!
Margarita M: This was a wonderful 2 weeks! The other girls were wonderful, kind and loved writing, and the teachers and chaperones were fun and supportive. I loved the plays and activities; they were all amazing. This has been one of the best 2 weeks of my life.
Lindsey T: It was a great experience! I learned so much about writing, NYC, and society in general! It seemed like every second was jam-packed with another awesome activity. My writing and my view on writing has completely changed. The guest speakers and teachers offered amazing insight into publishing and writing as a career that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. Meeting all these girls and doing fun things with them has been amazing. The food and dorm/suite was way better than I was expecting. Overall, it was an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend it to anybody considering writing as an important part of her future.
Summer L: The Teen Ink NYC Summer Writing Program was amazing! I met so many awesome people and classes were so helpful! I was inspired and motivated by the teachers every day. And NYC itself is incredible. There were so many great activities and every day was so fun and simply amazing. These two weeks have been life-changing. I’ve had such an awesome experience. My writing has improved and I’ve made so many wonderful new friends!
Ashley T: I can’t express how much this program has changed me. I’ve become more confident in myself and my writing. I’ve learned so many ways to improve and achieve what I want to do. The people I’ve met are beyond amazing and I’ve definitely made life friends. This program is fun, informative, and just overall amazing. I will forever remember this summer!
Rachel W: The entire experience of staying in Juilliard in New York City was great and you are able to get a real sense of the atmosphere thanks to walking around in small travel groups, going to so many different places in New York every day, and taking the subway and eating out. On top of that, you get to see plays, musicals, and ballets. The variety of shows was wonderful, as well, so you got a real range of many areas of interest. Also, the many different interviews were amazing. Again, the variety provided was perfect—the fact that you heard not only from various writers but from an editor as well was very enlightening to the whole publishing process.
Mia K: I am so happy and honored to have been a part of this lovely program! It is wonderfully organized and I really learned a lot! I loved going to all of the shows. So many experiences that I would have most likely never gotten the opportunity to otherwise experience!
Lydia W: This was definitely the most interesting experience of my life. I honestly feel I have grown so much as a writer, but I almost think I have grown more as a person. Through this program, I met so many amazing girls from different backgrounds and places, and they have taught me so much. I would say my favorite thing about the past two weeks has been the new friends I’ve made.
Emily B: It was just amazing. I met so many amazing people and did so many great things. The people I got to meet and the things I got to do were unlike anything I ever imagined myself doing in my life ever. These were probably two of the best weeks of my life, and that’s the honest truth. The writing classes helped so much, and with everything we did I could feel myself grow as a writer. The speakers and plays helped me envision what I would want to do as a writer and where my path is as a writer. I loved it here, I can’t ever stress that enough.
Miranda M: I loved that we got to really enjoy the city without worrying about getting around, but we were never treated like children and had freedom in our travel groups. We also got to experience the hustle of the city, but it didn’t get overwhelming because we got to relax during writing time. The classes were really helpful, as were the writing prompts we did. We had really good teachers, I had nice one-on-one meetings with them, and they gave great feedback on my writing. I think my writing improved because I learned what to avoid and what to strive for. I would have liked more writing time than three hours a day.
Melanie B: Coming into this I was not sure what to expect. When I read all the comments from last year’s Teen Ink group, I thought that they were cheesy and probably not fully true. However, I can honestly say that this experience has changed my life. I’ve learned an incredible amount about all forms of writing and I’ve met so many unique and diverse people whom I’ve created lasting bonds with. If you get the chance to come here, take it. You will not be sorry.
Britta F: The Teen Ink writing program was extremely fun and also very helpful in my learning experience. I truly enjoyed it. The suites were fun and the people were kind! Teachers were helpful and chaperones were interesting! The food in the cafeteria was diverse and extremely decent. Every show was amazing! My writing definitely improved and the classes were helpful and fun!
Nofar A: I had an amazing time making friends and traveling the city like a tourist! I expected the activities to be more hectic, but it was just right the way it was. I honestly made friends for lifetime and had amazing opportunities to meet speakers.
Krysten G: Teen Ink has helped me through my writing immensely. I like the fact that the camp doesn’t just focus on one style of writing, but that explores many different types because as young writers it’s important to try other types. I’ve met so many awesome people. I feel more confident about my writing and can’t wait to start on some new stuff when I get home!
Greta G: Expect everything from your thought and speech pattern, to your character development, and writing understanding to improve A LOT.
Linnea P: The program gave me a lot of opportunities. I saw much more of the business of writing and publishing—newspapers, editors, screenwriting, and so forth. I also got to see New York City more thoroughly than I had expected, what with shows, tours and museums, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. In addition, I was encouraged to try new voices and genres, which helped me expand my world as a writer.
Mia C: I really enjoyed it. Had eye opening experiences and learned a lot! Sort of had a college life.
Student Comments on the 2011 NYC Writing Program
Sami M: This program was amazing — let me just say. I’ve tried many camps and programs before this one (including writing camps) and this one is by far the best. I got so much experience w/ the city, w/ living w/ new people, w/ writing, w/ adapting to this exotic place. I absolutely loved it. It’s better than I’ve ever expected — really. I fell in love w/ this program, the people, everything. I had always been homesick before this. But here? Not once did I miss or feel sad about leaving my family. I made so many friends, had so many experiences, learned so much, and I’m… I’m just going to miss it so much. I couldn’t have asked for more!
Hunter P: AMAZING!!! Teen Ink has made me so much more confident in myself and in my writing. Everyone came for the right reasons, and we created a loving family of writers who wanted to see everyone succeed. I learned so much about myself, how I look at my writing and how I express myself.
Jenna S: I cannot even begin to say how amazing this experience was. I arrived nervous and not knowing what to expect, and I was more than pleasantly surprised with everything. Most of my friends are astounded that I would want to come to a summer program and write! That is, doing work when I could be swimming and basking in the sun. I, however, couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer. I experienced New York, made everlasting friends, and grew as a writer. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but it was definitely a life changing experience. For me, sitting on my floor at home and writing is never going to be the same. This program will be the topic of my conversations for years and years to come.
Lily I: This program was fantastic! The day I came to New York City and the Juilliard dorms I felt a sense of belonging I’ve rarely experienced anywhere else. The classes were not only beneficial, but because the participants genuinely cared about writing, each day was productive. This is a one of a kind experience I’d recommend to all young writers, particularly those who do not have as many opportunities where they live. In my hometown, for instance, it can take me a while to find people with common interests, but here I could connect with all the girls almost immediately. We were able to bounce sentences off each other for coherency and quality in our rooms, like it was normal. It’ll be a bit of a shock to return home to find that no one’s working on a future novel, but I’ll bear with it. Thanks for everything, Teen Ink!
Anna V: Teen Ink was something I had to do. Before I came here, before I even applied, writing was just a hobby. But the Teen Ink experience got me involved and writing from the moment I got there. Writing for six hours a day made me remember why I fell in love with writing in the first place. I know that now I’m going to keep writing at odd hours of the night, keep my notebook with me and work to become the best writer I can be. The program was a great cultural experience and I can honestly say I think all the girls loved it. I made friendships I’m going to hold on to, met girls I’m going to cry over, and now I want to push myself to focus on my writing. Teen Ink was hectic, chaotic, fun, inspiring, empowering, a roller coaster, and absolutely a necessary two weeks of my life.
Lauren K: Honestly, I didn’t expect I’d get so much out of this program. I met amazing people that I’m sure I’ll stay friends with forever. The classes were fantastic, I didn’t think I’d learn so much. I didn’t think my writing would improve as much as it did. I was unable to write prose before, but now I can. The chaperones were lovely, and I know that I’m going to miss them. Going home will be quite odd as well because I won’t have a daily schedule to stick to. I’ll tell others that even though the program is a bit expensive, it’s completely worth it and I now understand why we paid so much. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I’m so happy that I got to go. I didn’t want to go home!
Alexa D: Teen Ink NYC Writing Program is something I will always remember. I remember getting here and my roommate wearing a Harry Potter shirt — it was friendship at first sight. The first day was a flurry of running and screaming “You like that book? I love that book! You write poetry? I love poetry!” and the like. After only a night I felt like I’d known everyone for weeks. The classes were so informative and the discussions we had were really enjoyable, and I looked forward to them every day. All of the guest speakers were sweet and helpful, and the shows were fun. I think this program is great even if you’re often in NYC — I’m from New Jersey, had seen a lot of the shows and been to museums, and still had a fabulous, amazing time.
Kim K: I went to Teen Ink nervous about living and sharing my writing with more than thirty strangers, but I had no need to be nervous. It was a wonderful community of brilliant and supportive writers, as well as a wonderful staff. Also, the activities were AMAZING and really gave me the opportunity to experience a great deal of New York City. The Teen Ink program has improved my confidence in both my writing and myself. I couldn’t have imagined doing anything else with my summer.
Samantha A: It was better than I expected! I learned how to write better, which is crazy because I already write really well. Just getting us in the habit of writing all the time helped us so much, and we opened up to our writing and to each other, which let us make really close friends in such a short amount of time. Writing by hand was brilliant, and taking time away from the Internet was definitely worth it. All the girls at the program were so sweet and nice and smart and HILARIOUS — there was never a dull moment. The staff really cared about the girls, and talked to us on a personal level, which was helpful. Also, I felt really safe in the city, and I now want to live there. I had such a good time! It was such an honor to be able to come here and meet all these wonderful people who have changed my life! (No kidding) Loved It!
Abby S: When I first came to the program I was expecting my writing to improve just a bit and to possibly make some friends. My expectations were blown away! My writing has improved so much that I seem like a different writer altogether. And I have made so many life-long friends. I will cherish all of the memories I have made and lessons I have learned from my teachers, the Teen Ink girls, and the wonderful city of New York. All of the guest speakers (who offer wonderful advice and inspiration to young writers like us), classes, which have taught me more about creative writing and myself than I have learned throughout the school year; and the girls are simply wonderful. But the best part of the program is the fact that when I got home I had tons of new writing pieces, ideas for new writing pieces and how to expand and edit old ones, and lifelong friends. This is by far the most amazing program I have been to; come, I promise it will be one of the best decisions of your life!
Jamie A: I can say without a doubt that this has been one of the best experiences of my life. The girls are great, the chaperones and teachers made the trip so enjoyable, and I loved all the activities and shows. I felt like all the adults were so prepared for us and they really put so much of themselves into making the program the best it can be. I also feel like I have grown a lot as a writer. I probably got the best feedback I could possibly get. I have made such great friends — I really feel like I could go on and on about how much I love it. Thanks for making this program possible and making it the very best. I will truly miss everyone and everything and I will never, never forget these wonderful two weeks.
Kathryn B: I came to this program not really sure of my writing ability, but just knowing that it was something that I loved to do. During class, the teachers really challenged me to grow out of my comfort zone, of writing essays, towards dipping my toes into the giant pool that is fiction. The teachers were both extremely encouraging and their insight was very helpful. Not only did they never fail to give supportive comments, they always had our best interest at heart in order to give our writing a creative, imaginative edge. Additionally, the activity each day was extremely inspiring and helped us really experience the city. I also loved the shows because of my background in music. I felt really blessed to have been exposed to all those wonderful stories and triumphs during a condensed period of time.
Elana B: Teen Ink was truly an amazing program for me. It provided an environment where young women can focus on their work, learn from each other, and learn from ourselves. We can get inspired by the city and by the assignments. I loved getting the chance to befriend other writers and instantly connect with them through our shared passion. I would absolutely recommend this program to other writers who are willing to put their whole selves in and learn all they can! It is a bit overwhelming, but write everything down!
Alex C: I feel like this program brought me to a focused place of writing. I have pounded out more raw material in these two weeks than I would in a month at home. I have also made the best of friends here. It was so nice to be with people that understand what it is to be a writer. All the activities were amazing! The plays and tours were all so helpful with inspiring my writing. It was a one-of-a-kind experience that I will never forget!
Taylor D: I thought the program was amazing! I loved it and if I could do it again I would. The chaperones were all great. And the speakers were amazing. I think this program should continue for years to come to help other girls like us develop their writing skills and create long lasting friendships. Thank you so much for providing all of us with this opportunity. I can’t wait to see how much my writing has improved.
Jenny G: The program was absolutely amazing. I loved almost everything about it. The teachers were very instructive and helpful. The chaperones were all amazing and very helpful. The activities were spaced just right and all provided a wonderful experience of the city. The guest speakers were interesting for the most part. As for the girls, I will miss them all so much! It’s so sad to know that I won’t be seeing them all anymore. I made so many friends that I hate to leave, especially since most of us live on opposite sides of the country. That was probably the best thing about the program: the amazing friends I’ve made.
Lara H: Being a part of this writers’ community has helped me to improve both myself as a writer and a person. I’ve found life-long contacts, and one day I’ll see someone’s book in the store and be able to say “I went to a writing program with her.” Teen Ink has shown me New York City and the inspirational aspect of it, and given me many fundamentals to become a better writer and prosper. I will remember it forever and know that it helped me to be whatever I end up being.
Thank you so much for accepting me. It’s truly one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Thank you for a great two weeks!
Storm H: I absolutely loved it. Everything was so amazing, the teachers and chaperones were great. My writing has improved exponentially and it has been such a learning experience. Having never been to New York before, it was such inspiration. There is truly no way to improve this program. Everyone on the trip has been so great and I hope we stay friends for our lifetime. They are all so great. I just loved it all, everything.
Michelle K: I enjoyed visiting all the places of course, and the classes challenged me in positive ways. Mary and Jennifer (our teachers) both have different styles of teaching, but they both taught us valuable lessons, and I learned things I didn’t consider in the past. For example: it’s important to know the background of characters, because it affects decisions that characters make in the future. The writer has to know the back-story, but include it in the story in a subtle way. And when writing, it’s OK sometimes to just ramble, because it is after all a first draft, and sometimes subconscious thoughts can provide the best materials.
I think the Teen Ink NYC Writing Program was balanced overall, because we got the full NY experience, but the focus remained on writing. The writers in this program come from all over. They may encourage you, they may give you constructive criticism, but that’s just it, it’s constructive, meant to help, not hurt you.
Emily K: I don’t think I’m the only one who will say that this program was one of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had. I came to learn and I definitely did learn a lot. One of the things that I said at the beginning of the trip was that I didn’t really know what I was doing in my writing, and now I feel like I know so much more. The teachers were very helpful, in class and out, and I loved getting feedback from them. I feel incredibly close with my suitemates and with most of the staff, and I will remember our conversations and writing advice to each other for a long time. I enjoyed all of the activities, but it would have been nicer to spread things out more. That’s pretty much all I have to complain about! It was really a spectacular experience!!!
Yuxi L: I am from Singapore, and the program was certainly better than I expected. I expected fewer activities and slower pace, but I was glad to always be on the move - like a real New Yorker. The classes were so instructive, unlike any I’ve been in before, and I learned things I never would’ve at school. I would tell others that they need to be prepared going into this because it’s not only new people, but also a new pace of life and new environment. I’m sure that this program isn’t for everyone, but serious aspiring young writers will definitely have an amazing time here.
(Erica) Rosie M: The experience on this program was fantastic. The shows were super fun even though the walking was long and hard for me. Most of the speakers were absolutely fan-freaking-tastic, and they all had great things to share. The ballet was somewhat boring if you aren’t into ballet. The suites were great, the roommates even better. I’ve made so many great friends, and I’ve met so many amazing people and I’m sad I can’t come back next year!
Sarah M: I came into this program with the expectation of getting a good feel for New York City, as well as constructive criticism of my writing. Both expectations have been met and in certain places, exceeded. I never thought I’d be comfortable walking around New York, or know how to get back to the dorm on my own (not that I was ever alone). I loved the suites, with a common room, but also our own rooms/shared rooms. Overall, I’d recommend this program to anyone who truly loves writing and wants to explore NY. It’d be impossible not to have fun here and make tons of friends.
Cassandra P: What can I say? It was fantastic. I learned so much about so many different kinds of writing, and I think I’ve really grown as a writer here. It was fantastic to spend time with so many other teens who are as interested in writing as I am. I made some very good friends and was inspired and encouraged by the environment, and by all the experiences I had here.
Gabriella P: I really enjoyed the program, and looking back overall, I have a good feeling about all of it. The Ellis Island tour was really cool! I loved the NY Public library, its architecture was AMAZING. I liked all the quotes that our teacher, Jennifer, had. I also liked the ‘he said, she said’ assignment that Mary gave. Those aren’t the only things I liked though. Their classes showed me new ways to approach writing.
Liana S: The experience was amazing. I met people who were amazing, and I think we’ll be friends for a long time. Living in NYC for two weeks was really helpful in helping me realize what it would be like to live in a large city. The writing classes helped me so much and gave me the structure I’ve been needing, because I can’t get that at home. The chaperones were really, really nice. The shows and activities were a really good variety and really fun.
Hannah S: This program was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience for sure. I got to do so many things that are a part of New York that I’d never have gotten to on my own. I met so many wonderful people, even though I was worried that the girls would have cliques and that kind of thing, but there was absolutely no drama at all and everyone loved each other. Something about a bunch of writers coming together to write and help each other is really fun and non-threatening. The shows were amazing, the activities were so fun, and the workshop environment was so helpful and I learned a lot. I’ve even sat in the suite and workshopped with other girls sometimes. If someone asked me if they should come here, I would say absolutely, as long as they’re genuinely committed to writing. I can’t stress enough how many great friends and staff members I met here. Don’t even worry about making friends, literally everyone in the program is friends with everyone else. I love this program and it’s an amazing experience for anyone who wants to get involved. The worst part is leaving.
AJ S: It was so amazing! Being in New York was so inspiring and being with all these writers was incredible! I so enjoyed every moment of it and all of us really bonded. I will miss everyone so much and I’ll think of it for a long time! I can’t wait to continue my conversations with everyone. I would tell others it was the greatest experience of my writing career. It totally improved my knowledge of creative writing.
Rebekah T: This was a very fulfilling, unique experience. I have never been around such amazing girls and such open, helpful teachers. The activities were unique and very good to introduce one to NYC. The classes were open and interesting, and there were so many chances to read, and get honest feedback. I am so glad this program exists — it’s a special and life-changing opportunity. I have walked away from this a more enlightened, confident, and better writer. If I could, I would do this every year!
Emily W: This program was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am so confident in my writing now, and I feel like this will set me up to be a better writer for the future. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Jenna W: I came here scared and nervous about this whole thing. I was afraid that my personality would clash, and no one would like me. But after two hours, I knew I would make friends with everyone. The writing classes kept my pen going, and the different shows and tours made me so inspired. I really didn’t want it to end as the days flew past. I’ve definitely grown as a writer as I was here. I really wish I could do this again!
Sydney W: It helped improve my writing and explore forms besides poetry. Visiting Alice’s Tea Cup was awesome and I made many new friends. The poetry workshop was great, too!
Student Comments on the 2010 NYC Writing Program
Camille C: The Teen Ink writing program was one of a kind. It took 32 girls of completely different backgrounds, from many states and foreign countries, but with one common interest; writing. I learned a ton from the program, and I loved every minute of it. New York City is beautiful on its own, but add a ton of people all passionate about writing and it’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. The Broadway shows were amazing. The guest speakers were amazing. The tours were amazing. And, most importantly, the people were amazing. This has probably been the best experience of my life. For anyone who is thinking of applying, do it! I promise you one thing, you won’t be disappointed. I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations.
Morgan M: The Teen Ink summer writing program has not only made my writing better, but it was a life changing experience. At home, I don’t know a lot of people who read/write, and when I came here, everyone loved reading/writing. Everyone understands how fun it is and the enjoyment you get out of it. Both the staff members and participants were always around to critique your work, which was difficult for me to find at home. I have over 30 people who won’t just say “good” when they read your work. They elaborate and tell you how it can be great. The 31 other participants on this program are girls I’ll never forget. From the moment I arrived at the dorm, it felt like we were all long lost friends., Everyone got along from the start and there was never a moment without smiles and laughter. The experiences I’ve had on this trip are the most unforgettable memories I’ve had. I would say goodbye, but since meeting everyone, it stopped being goodbye and turned into see you later!
Kimberly A: This program is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I made so many new friends, saw a ton of great places, and most importantly improved as a writer. The teachers, the staff and my friends helped me see writing in different ways, which allowed me to grow. For example I now love to write poetry, but before the trip I couldn’t stand it. Thankfully the teachers helped me see how wonderful poetry can be. My friends became my family for two weeks and I can’t even describe how much they mean to me and how much they have changed my life. The city was amazing and I am so lucky to have had the chance to see it and so much of it. Thank you so much, I can’t say that enough.
Acacia P: The program is amazing, wonderful, epic, awesome, and terrific all tied up into a nice little present! The chaperones and teachers are so nice, and they were all so helpful when it came to writing. These classes are the best classes I have ever taken! They were so helpful and really let me grow as a writer. The outings were amazing. All the guest speakers were super nice and so much fun to meet! My favorite parts were of course all the writing time, and the other girls. I know we’ll be friends for life! This program, in only two short weeks, has changed my life! I will never forget it!
Christina C: Teen Ink summer program 2010! Wow, what can I say? This is probably the best experience I’ve ever had. The two weeks flew by, but I learned more about writing than I have ever learned in my whole life. Really, I am not exaggerating. I didn’t have any writing programs/classes at my school and this was perfect. I had tons of fun, made new best friends and learned so much. The activities were a blast. I loved the shows, meeting authors and editors (that was awesome) and going to places like The Strand bookstore! By far, this is one of the best times I’ve had. The chaperones were nice, especially my suite chaperone. The friends I’ve made are amazing – truly unforgettable. I’ll never forget this whole experience. Oh, and the classes were great. My favorite class was Jen’s class because I loved the quotes she wrote down and the class just really made me think in a new way. I definitely, absolutely recommend this program to anyone who loves writing. You will truly benefit from it – I promise you that!
Taylor D: The program was amazing. The amount of time we got to spend writing is more than I could have dreamed of. Since we had so much in common we all made friends quickly. These are the kinds of memories that last a lifetime. The shows were inspiring and exciting. The teachers helped me to grow as a writer but moreover as a person. The people we had the opportunity to meet were beyond my wildest dreams. We were so occupied I didn’t even have time to get homesick. I’ve made friends and memories to last a lifetime.
Brittany L: This program was amazing! I learned so much about things to put into my writing and how to use different tools in my writing. The six hours of writing almost every day really made me appreciate how much I love to write. Traveling around the city and going to so many places was great too. I feel like I had the full New York experience. My favorite thing we did though was going to all the shows and having talk-backs. It was fun, energetic and makes a lasting memory. Something I would tell people is that you come out with 31 new friends and a million new memories. Your writing gets better and the one-on-ones with the teachers are so helpful. My writing has improved so much! This is an amazing program and I hope it keeps going on for years to come.
Sam G: The Teen Ink summer program was a really wonderful and amazing experience for me. Having grown up writing, but never been really encouraged in my own school courses, I have never felt more at home. These girls made me love writing all over again with a new passion. The teachers were so great and so helpful. They were always there when I needed them. The chaperones kicked butt and took names while getting us where we needed to be. But what I chalk it down to is the time spent in class reading our work aloud. That also really helped me. Having girls who know what they’re talking about and actually care about my progress and commenting on my work was amazing. Not only did it help me grow as a writer but it told me my strengths. Also, hearing other girls’ work helped me get a better understanding for how to write more aptly. Thank you, Teen Ink!
Allison L: This program was absolutely wonderful. The days were so jam-packed with fun that every night you couldn’t wait to get up the next morning for the day’s activities! There is such a wide variety of shows and activities that everyone is guaranteed to love something! The other things we did were also very inspiring. Each activity had a story, something funny always happened, so I was never at a loss for inspiration for my writing. The classes were great, as were the girls - I knew everyone by the second day! We were all so close and we were not afraid to share and work with each other out of class. I loved all the opportunities, like writing time outside and trips to Greenwich Village! All in all, Teen Ink NYC Writing program has helped me grow as both a writer and a person. I have made great friends who supported me and helped me write. I loved this so much and will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.
Hannah H: In all, I really enjoyed my experience with the Teen Ink NYC writing program. In addition to improving my writing through inspiring and structurally helpful classes, we were also able to get personal feedback from our fellow classmates and teachers. I found this to be a great attribute of the program because you could really be critiqued on whatever style of work you liked to produce. Plus, I found the feedback was most insightful when the editor(s) was giving me comments one-on-one. Something else that I thoroughly enjoyed during this program were the shows. I absolutely loved them - I found them to be exciting, intriguing, suspenseful as times and even saddening.
Helen H: My two weeks at Teen Ink were absolutely amazing. My teachers were intelligent and helpful and my classmates had great comments and critiques about my work. The days seemed to fly by and at the last night’s open mic I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone. My favorite excursions were to the New York Times and to Greenwich Village. I saw some landmarks and cools spots to tell my parents about and at the NYT I learned some great stuff about publishing and how news is made. The plethora of musicals inspired me, and made me laugh and cry. I made so many great friends here, from all over the country (and world). I felt my experience was awesome and I’d definitely recommend it to my friends.
Lauren H: The Teen Ink NYC Writing Program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, perfectly blending experiencing the city with creating a place of growth for a writer. The staff members were talented and knowledgeable, made everything fun and genuinely enjoyed the experience too. Through this program I met thirty plus fellow writers and learned skills in an environment I couldn’t get anywhere else. A fantastic program I would recommend for writers with a sense of adventure and a love for new experiences. There were tons of opportunities I may never have again and I enjoyed it very much.
Katie K: Teen Ink was such an amazing experience; both the people and the program were awesome. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done before. I finally met people who are like me and have the same interests; reading and writing. I could talk to them about books and styles and authors, actually discuss things with them, and not have to worry about them. The classes were absolutely fantastic. I learned so many new things and I know I’ve become a better writer because of them. Every single aspect of the program was amazing; the classes, the people, the shows, the trips, the chaperones (so cool!) and the travel groups. I had such a lovely time, I’m incredibly sad to go home. But at the same time, I’m not. Because I have made friends here, and I know I’ll keep in touch with them. So thank you, Teen Ink.
Bea M: The Teen Ink Writing Program was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far. Every moment was thrilling for me, and I never once felt the urge to go home or sit in the room by myself. Some people may complain about the tight schedule, but I did not have any complaints. Everything we did here was new and exciting. The classes were fun, relaxed, and engaging and both teachers were a joy to work with. The chaperones were like those cool aunts you have, I loved each and every one of them so much. Seeing the city was unforgettable. I feel steeped in NYC and I loved it. The shows we went to blew my mind, and I was honestly freaking out every time we had a talk back, every actor was so gracious and informative. Walking through the city with my travel group was a great way to experience the city. I’m so sad to be leaving, but these two weeks have given me friends for life and an experience I’ll never forget.
Jamie C: The experience was wonderful, there is nothing negative to say. I loved the classes and the shows and the people. Every minute felt like a dream. I felt like I had known these girls forever, I made such great friends and had a fabulous time. There was never a moment of unhappiness or disappointment. I can not thank you enough for such a great time and such awesome opportunities. I miss it already.
Rachel D: This program truly changed my life. I made lasting friendships and memories that will stay with me always. Getting to experience a city with people just like you is a thrill and all the activities didn’t waste a single second. I’m so glad that I got accepted, it really changed my life for the better. I’m proud to call the staff members and my friends family. We bonded and learned so much from each other that made these two weeks worthwhile. So, thank you. Seeing all the shows was fun and the classes were challenging yet productive, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Danielle L: I absolutely love it! It was truly amazing and I’m sad it is over. I’d tell anyone about all I learned, got to see and experience. All the different activities we got to do and all the opportunities. I learned a lot and I’m sure my writing has and will continue to improve, thanks to this program. I had a great time, one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll miss all of the friends I’ve made and all the wonderful memories we’ve shared. I can’t explain the joy being around fellow writers has brought me. It was truly a pleasure and I thank you very much with all my heart.
Rosie F: I think this program has done so much for my writing, as well as making me 31 lovely friends. The activities were all perfect, I enjoyed everything so much and I just wish it were longer! Although I’m going home exhausted, I really feel my writing has grown and improved! I’ve learned about voice and how to use it; how to write freely without editing; editing! I will go home with new skills, new friends and a life experience that I will never, ever forget. I loved it!
Shelby D: Just seeing the itinerary showed how jam-packed the program would be with incredible experiences, but it couldn’t begin to explain how once-in-a-lifetime it would be. The talkbacks were definitely a highlight, and I loved hanging out/working with/hearing from other incredible writers.
Haley Z: I had an amazing time here, and will never ever forget it. Being amongst so many other young writers has truly changed my life. I would encourage all my friends who are interested in writing to apply. It helped me grow as a writer and it also introduced me to breathtaking NYC. The staff and teachers were incredible and I simply could not have had a better time! I loved being here!
Kayla G: Experiencing this great city was amazing. But experiencing it with this group of girls made it so much more! I have been inspired by the never-ending action and beauty of New York to create some of my best pieces of writing yet! The shows were wonderful and the sights were gorgeous! But the bonds we have made will last a lifetime! I will never forget the time I spent here with Teen Ink!
Paulina G: The Teen Ink writing program was amazing. I jumped at every opportunity and consider myself lucky to have become friends with so many girls! It was nice to hear feedback and enjoy classes with really great teachers. The chaperones were the best. All of the talkbacks were great and I enjoyed all of the plays. It definitively made me certain that writing is for me.
Katie J: The Teen Ink program has changed my life for the better. I am a better writer and a better person for it. It gives young, female writers a place where they are surrounded by people just like them, people who want to write for 6 hours a day. It gives a great environment to write, and gives the young writers tons of culture like shows, sights, Central Park, tours and museums. It is an amazing, inspiring trip that any truly passionate young writer should apply for. On this program, young writers get to meet other young writers and make great friends as well as improve writing skills.
Hannah S: I had loads of fun here in New York! I loved going to all the shows and I also loved our classes - I really feel like I’ve grown a lot in my writing. All in all, I had a great time! I made so many good friends that I plan to stay in touch with, and we will definitely be coming back to NYC. If I could do this program again I would for sure.
Cynthia S: It was amazing meeting so many people I can talk to, since most of my friends don’t really care when I talk to them about writing. It was great seeing New York with the rest of the participants, and I have made new friends who I will hopefully stay in touch with the rest of my life. The writing classes were definitely helpful and the shows were all great.
Kristen B: The program was very enjoyable. I learned a lot and the classes, activities and theaters were great. Teen Ink really made me think about how I would like to continue writing and going to other programs to learn more.
Comments on the 2009 NYC Writing Program
LISA D: The Teen Ink NYC Program changed my life. Just to be a part of something so unique with 30 girls who are just like me was really a dream. It's really a once in a lifetime opportunity that leaves no room for regret. The friendships I made will last forever, and the people I met were all so unique. This program really helped me tap into my writing potential and taught me great ways to keep writing. The teachers were out of this world, always keeping things "groovy" and showing that they were writers, just like us, too. I don't think anything will be able to top this experience for a long time. The only bad part about it was having to leave.
ARICKA G: This trip was amazing. I knew I loved writing before I came here, but now I know that writing is something that will always stay in my life. I love the fact that when I go home I will continue to improve and write so much more. The teachers were great. They were very nice and funny and they taught me a lot about writing that I will take and grow with. The leaders were awesome as well. They were easygoing and nice. They really looked out for the best interests of the students, and John was super nice. I loved meeting all the girls, and we all got along so well and made lasting friendships. Not only were the people great, but the sights and shows and museums we saw were spectacular. This trip was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I don't think there are many people that get to see and experience the things we experienced in NYC. I loved every minute of this trip.
LUCY M: The Teen Ink NYC program was amazing. I really enjoyed being in an environment with other young writers, learning about each of their past lives and what they plan for in the future. I feel I connected with a lot of the other girls. All the staff was wonderful, they gave us freedom but also kept us in sight. I didn't mind always being with an adult, but these adults in particular were really cool and fun and energetic. My suite has become my home now. Home is where the heart is; I left my heart in Juilliard with the Teen Ink NYC Program participants.
CHAYA B: I loved the program. The girls were probably most incredible, right next to the classes. The majority of the girls were really down-to-earth and real. Not superficial like most girls in groups. The classes had a huge impact on my writing; I can see it. I've only been writing for a year-everything I've written this year equals the amount I've written in the last 2 weeks-a lot of it is good! I feel like I really have the tools now to begin my novel and be a writer.
PATRICIA P: I found the program one day on random web surfing and immediately applied. By February I was accepted, something I can't believe still. These last few months have been filled with excitement as I waited and counted down the days. Meeting everyone on the internet beforehand made us all feel less intimidated by coming here. I made my best friends here. It's amazing how only two weeks could change my life. At first I felt that I would be overwhelmed by all the classes and writing time but I found myself wanting more! I didn't want to leave; New York is amazing, and the people I have met have been wonderful. There are no ways to explain how grateful I am to John and everyone else, including my parents, for letting this be a part of my life. I will never forget it.
BETTY H: I had a marvelous time and think this program is one of the best ways to be introduced to NYC. We saw so many different aspects of the city-the Statue of Liberty, Greenwich Village, Broadway plays, museums, and in such a short time to boot. There were also many opportunities for writing, and it was great being surrounded by all writers. I didn't really start opening up to anyone until the last week, though. I like the idea of travel groups a lot-instead of 30 girls tromping around together we had a smaller, more intimate and flexible group. It was so much to take in, but I never felt overwhelmed by the size of the city because the staff was so professional and attuned to our individual needs. Open Mic nights were also great for sharing what we'd accomplished.
EMILY C: Coming to New York was a great experience. But, being with writers and people exactly like me made it once in a lifetime. I've made friends that will always be near and dear, no matter how far apart we are. We went to amazing places that I thought were only in dreams and movies. And, even though it sounds incredibly cheesy, it's true. Central Park was beautiful. The thunder and rain was pretty. I never thought I'd get to see these things and become a much more confident writer. My skills have grown. And I'm excited to return home so I can continue to work in bliss. Always reminded of the time in NYC.
ALEKA G: This is one of the best experiences I have EVER had-I've learned so much and met so many amazing people, not to mention seen a whole lot of New York, too! The teachers were great and so were all the other staff members-helpful, supportive, but above all just really, really warmhearted. I'd recommend this program to anyone who loves writing, and I will in the future do just that. Once again, thanks for an amazing, unforgettable experience!
NATALIE G: I loved everything about the program. This truly was a life-changing experience. I was able to learn things about myself and really grow as a person. All the activities we did made the trip very exciting and I loved the experience. The classes and writing time were great. I've never taken a creative writing class before, and based on these two teachers, I would love to take another. The program was a great way to get away from my everyday life and do what I really enjoy. I never thought there were other girls out there who felt the same way as I do. I've been able to really grow as a person because of this experience. You made the program just the way it should be and made sure all of us girls were happy (which sometimes isn't very easy to do).
MADISON H: I loved the Teen Ink program. I'm so sad that this experience has to end. I've finally been able to vastly improve my writing and get peer critiques. It's so frustrating at home because no one shared my passion or will be honest with me and my writing. It was nice – no, GREAT - to be surrounded by people who wanted nothing else but to improve and write. That doesn't happen anywhere else. Also, I've experienced so much in NYC; it's amazing. The variety and shows have really broadened my horizons. These are two weeks of my life that I'll remember forever. I can take them home and really learn something from them. I'm really going to miss this. There's no doubt.
FRANCINE H: I loved the Teen Ink Writing Program. It will impact me for the rest of my life. I grew as a person and a writer. I made really great friends and got along with everyone. I've never opened up as quickly as I did in this program. The atmosphere of being around 29 other writers was overwhelmingly excellent. The classes balanced each other nicely. I learned many things that will help me in the future. Overall I enjoyed these two weeks so much, I wish I never had to go home. I'll never forget this experience.
MELANIE K: The program was truly a once in a lifetime experience! I loved being in New York, writing and making friends. I liked that we were able to experience the city culture and still write. It seemed like a good balance between the two. I loved classes and there is very little I would change about them. I am so grateful to be blessed with such an amazing experience. I had a blast!
DANILLE L: The Teen Ink NYC Writing Program is a must for any young writer. Besides getting to experience the thrill of New York City and all it offers, you will learn to perfect your craft in the great writing classes and seminars. I recommend this to all who have a love of the arts, the city, and of course, writing.
ANJALI R: This was the experience of a lifetime. I improved my writing immensely. I loved the whole experience. I have no idea how you did it, but we became a family, my suite and I-it's amazing. I came here not expecting to make friends who I will now keep in touch with (including my teachers Lisa and Mary). After these two weeks I can't imagine my life without them. I will never forget this experience. Thank you!
MARIA R: I'm really glad that I got to come. I think everything was more exciting than I imagined it to be. The friendships I have formed with some of these girls will last the rest of my life. I'm excited to watch and see us grow as writers and people. I'm only sad because it has to end. In a sense I think this program truly is perfect-but I think a large part of me wishes that it was longer. Even so, I'm happy I had this experience as I know it will last the rest of my life.
LISA M: This Teen ink program was one of the best opportunities I've ever been offered. I could really feel myself growing and progressing throughout this program both as a writer and as a person. The shows and activities were new, different, interesting and inspiring. The staff was welcoming and wonderful. The people I've met here are the most amazing, inspirational, beautiful, wonderful people I've ever met in my entire life. This really was the experience of a lifetime.
Chrysten from TX: I almost missed this trip and I thank God that I made it. Everything about it was absolutely astonishing. The shows dazzled us, the history inspired us, the culture captivated us, and the art mesmerized us. We met with teachers who sharpened our skills and inspired our imaginations. London was brilliant, but my writing has skyrocketed since day one when classes began. I can’t wait to take these skills home and apply them to daily life. I also got to bond with extraordinary young women who shared my passion. We were all different and yet so much alike. Nothing was contained ... we had complete freedom. The chaperones were caring, considerate, responsible, and fun. I’ll never be the same after this experience. My sincerest thank you to all the awesome people who gave me the opportunity.
Leah from WI: I thought the program was great. There was a great variety of program activities and we had so much going on. All the adults were very helpful, the classes were very interesting, and it was all-around a fantastic time. I’m so glad I came.
Allie from NY: This was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I feel so at home here and I love coming to class every day. It was great to meet a group of girls as passionate about writing as I am and being able to share our writing with each other. We did a lot of activities that I feel I would not have been able to do if I came to London with my family or with a group. I loved Windfield House, the National Gallery, and all the great plays and shows we have seen. I learned so much on this trip and I have met some people I will never forget. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Ebie from CA: This program has really improved me as a writer and a person. The classes, writing, and workshopping challenged me and taught me to write so much better! I loved everyone on this trip; I couldn’t have found a better group ever! I loved loved loved all the places we went, tours we took, plays/musicals we saw! London was just fantastic!!!!!
To others, all I will say is: the jetlag goes away pretty quickly (amazingly), and ENJOY YOURSELF! THIS IS THE TRIP OF YOUR LIFE, DON’T MISS ANYTHYING! I can’t think of anything I’d change and I really really enjoyed everything about London!
Maria from MA: I think the program was perfect in every way. I met great friends and great teachers. In class I learned how to think outside the box and draw inspiration from everything. Everyone here supported me in everything I did, and I supported them too. I had so much fun. It was the greatest thing ever. I loved the places we went to as well. This trip is for anyone who loves to write and has a great passion for it. I wish I could go on the trip again. I had a great time.
Ren from NJ: Overall, I honestly cannot think of a better experience or trip I have ever had. I became friends with some really amazing people and I learned a lot about my writing and how to improve it. The activities we took part in could not have been better and the classes were really great. I really had one of the best times of my life and if I weren’t homesick I would want to stay longer. London was a great place to see and write in and I am going to come back one day. I can’t wait! Thank you for this trip.
Callie from DE: This has been the best 2 weeks of my life. My writing has improved so much, and I got to experience London in a way that most people, especially people my age, can’t. The writing sessions were fantastic, the shows brilliant, and the people mind-blowing. The only thing I would change is the time. It should be much longer than 2 weeks.
I’ve gotten to know so many people, and I really hope we all stay in touch. We’ve got the Forum so hopefully we can all continue talking and writing to each other. I will never forget this experience. This year has been the best yet, and the trip has made it a year to remember and never forget (that rhymed... I AM a poet! :) ) To future participants - savor the 2 weeks. It goes by fast. Keep ALL of the staff members, and all of the programs- especially Mary Poppins. The only word to describe this trip is one that fits perfectly - supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Hilary from CA: In my time here in London, I have grown so much as a person, not only as a writer. I have been able to explore who I am as a writer, and all of the new experiences here have given me so much material. I feel so accomplished in my work, and the workshops have helped me to further develop as a writer. The environment, the community, rather, or writers, helped me to improve my work. I made so many friends and have met so many amazing people. I can honestly say that I felt that I belonged here. I will miss everyone so much.
Carly from CT: This experience has been eye opening for me. I expected it to be enjoyable since I would be in London and be taking writing classes, but I did not expect the quality of teaching to be so excellent and the itinerary to be so jam-packed with fun things! Also, I had mixed feelings about attending a program without knowing anyone but to my delight I ended up meeting 28 other extraordinary young women who have taught me so much. This trip was very meaningful for me because I was surrounded by people who come from all different backgrounds and live across the country. In a way, my passion for writing only magnified, and when I return home I am excited to write and use all of the knowledge I learned on this trip! These last 2 weeks have truly flown by and I am sad that they are irreplaceable - but they have become a memory that I will keep in my heart forever!
Alex from TX: Overall it was a fantastic experience. The classes really got me to open up my writing and definitely improved my writing. Being in London was also a wonderful experience. The location was beautiful and inspiring. I wouldn’t change a thing about this trip.
Amanda from NY: This trip was an unbelievable experience. I met some of my best friends here, and plan to keep in touch with them and visit them when I can. Being in London was so surreal. I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that I’m here! I met girls who are just like me, girls who write because it’s all they have. Classes helped me so much, both with my writing and to improve myself as a person. I’m totally tearing up as I write this! I guess this means even more to me than thought, which I didn’t think was possible! This program changed my life. Thank you so very much.
Jayme from NY: OH WOW! This experience enhanced my life in ways I never dreamed possible. I was scared of meeting the girls for fear they wouldn’t like me. I was timid about all the writing and concerned I wouldn’t be able to write as much as we were supposed to. Upon arrival at the airport, the girls welcomed me warmly and if anything the time here was too short to do all the writing bubbling inside me now sparked by this experience. The teachers, leaders, speakers, and girls were the best in the world. The diversity of the shows, writing locations, museums, and daily activities made each day a new adventure, even if the diversity of the food was lacking. If there’s something to complain about in heaven it would be the food but this trip was one of the most helpful and memorable experiences of my life.
Cicie from CA: If all my creative writing classes were like this, I would grow at a much faster pace. As it is, I will take all the amazing things I have learned/experienced and apply them to my writing. I have met fantastic people here that I wish I could take with me back home to California!
Beth from RI: I almost feel like this is an alternate universe. Everything before and after seems far away and unbelievable. As an only child, it is great for me to be able to walk down the hall and be with people. Nobody here is “normal” and I think it’s fantastic! It’s just such a good mix. While the London experience itself was great, my favorite part was just making friends and writing. I would unreservedly recommend this program, no matter where it took place.
Lea from CA: This program was so amazing because being in London is a whole new pool of inspiration and the teachers really helped us to take that pool and transfer it into art. I felt like the program really was in everyone’s best interest. Some people found it very fast-paced but that’s one of the things I enjoyed. There was never a dull moment. My only complaint would be the Bus Tour of London directly after a lack of sleep because I was a little too exhausted to enjoy it fully. It has been so wonderful though because everyone here has been looking out for one another. After living together for two weeks I found that we have created one of the most chaotically crazy and beautiful families I have ever seen. Also, being with 30 other people who love to write has really helped me improve because I have gotten to see so many different styles that I hope to take away and incorporate in my writing. All in all, the teachers were very inspiring, the staff was always there, all the participants have been so warm and open, so all I can say is that I am honored to have been a part of this.
Rachel from NH: I ONLY TRIPPED 15 TIMES!! That’s a record for 2 weeks!!!
I really, really, really loved this program. The staff was amazing and the classes were so much fun. I learned so much that my head is practically bursting at the seams with creative ideas. I wish I could come back and do it again.
As for what I’d tell others: Don’t bring bags of jewelry and four pairs of shoes. You’re not here to be a model, so choose function over fashion - just kidding. I would definitely recommend serious writers for this program because it’s such a great opportunity to learn. I gathered SO MUCH INFORMATION - when you first get to London, it is super awkward because the environment is SO different; but the creative trickle will turn into a creative ocean/river/lake. I got so many awesome ideas from my classes and random prompts. Everything about this program was freakin’ amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat (although I would want to bring my cat with me...)
Special thanks should be ordered to the staff, who always made sure me and my bum knee were ok, especially Selma and John. THANK YOU, TEEN INK!!!!!!!
Melissa from MA: I think my favorite parts, besides being surrounded by a bunch of intelligent girls, were the Shakespearean plays. They were so well done, and although it rained both times I really loved the open-air quality. I also loved the affectionate atmosphere of everyone. I think the participants really made this trip what it was. The two teaching styles were both so opposite that they fit together perfectly. I just really loved everyone and everything.
Liz from CO: This program was the best thing to ever happen to me and my writing. When I first boarded the plane, I was afraid that I wasn’t a talented writer and that I had nothing fresh to write about. The first day I was actually alive in London and was submerged in writing, I was able to tap into my inspirational right brain and from then on, every day was a new adventure. The classes weren’t nearly as intimidating as I’d first imagined and the writing was perfectly balanced with London-y activities. Each girl was her own person and had something to bring to the table. By some miracle, everyone got along and there was a sense of community you couldn’t get anywhere else. By the end of the two weeks, every girl was a friend.
Carolina from CA: The notion I came with, that I would find something waiting for me in London, had fantastic potential to fail. But I think I underestimated the city and myself. The structure of the classes in the setting of London opened an entirely new door in my brain. The brilliant thing about being a writer is that everything helps, everything adds to it. And in this setting, I couldn’t find enough words for what I saw. The girls here really brought out the best in me; I felt so comfortable. Here I never had a brick of writer’s blocker, never doubted myself, and have never been so at home mentally. Here, I found who was waiting for me and it was wrapped simply... it was an idea that already has changed me as a writer. I no longer write like the writer I will be - I already am.
Christine from CA: June 23: The 29 of us arrive at Heathrow Airport in London. We’re jetlagged and exhausted, but excited. We come from all over the United States, but we all have a common interest in mind, and our love for writing would propel us through the two weeks we had ahead of us. From our first day in London, we hit the ground running with a bus tour and boat ride on the Thames. I cannot possibly give the adequate praise necessary to explain just how wonderful this program is. With such a small group of girls, we created our own community within the dorm, and I shared a bond with them all. There was always someone to talk to if you got bored in your room. And, as we were all writers, help was just right down the hall to the nearest room. The girls were so supportive and inspirational. Not only did they care about their own writing, but everyone else’s as well. London is a beautiful city; the atmosphere was perfect for all of us aspiring writers. The classes were amazing. Never have I gotten such wonderful direction and feedback for my writing. If you have a passion for writing, I would definitely recommend this program. It was an extraordinary experience and one I will never forget.
Maddy from WI: I couldn’t sleep on the plane so I was exhausted to the point of hysteria when I arrived - I couldn’t sleep that night or very much the next. The people on night duty were totally understanding and let me call home. When I calmed down and focused on writing, I felt so much better. After the first week I was totally into it! I loved all the shows and ice cream. Meeting Luna Lovegood at King’s Cross was amazing. I had a great time. I also got rid of my fear of being away from home. I gained a lot of independence, which has been invaluable. This trip was prefect and I felt like I had an advantage going with this group. I am definitely recommending the trip to my friend, but the price will probably prevent her coming. I’ll try to help her. I also wish I had bought more spending money. There should be more shopping time! This was amazing! Thank you so, so, so much!
Caroline from ON, Canada: There is no easy way to sum up my experience here in London with Teen Ink. It feels as though there was nothing before the program, like I’ve been here all along. I felt at home with all of these girls, in our sketchy-looking dorm and eating suspicious cafeteria food. The streets of London did not seem foreign to me, and I feel as though I could navigate my way across the city. The Writing Program was a unique experience, one that I am sure I will never forget, and one that can never be matched. I want to tell everyone to do this, or something like this, because it really is absolutely amazing. You can’t even imagine how brilliant it is. You think you know before you come here that it’s going to be spectacular, but you have no idea. It is more than that. It is life changing. I’ve not only grown as a writer, but as a person. I really don’t know how to put it to words, but I can say that I have already told one of my friends to apply. I told her in a postcard that she had to apply because it would change her life. This is what it’s all about. It’s about living and loving what you do, and it’s about getting all the guidance and help you possibly can in order to succeed at it. London is beautiful and so are the people.
Renee from ME: It was a one-of-a-kind, inspirational, educational and entertaining experience! If you’re in a small town (i.e. no writing classes outside English I, II, or III and creative writing) and would like to get to know other writers this trip is for you. When I first arrived here I thought, “Nice, I can’t even tell what prose is and girls here know the truth behind Shakespeare.” Throughout the Travel Group time though I found two girls I got extremely close to. I can go to them for helpful advice, which in my town/school doesn’t exist. A “that was a nice poem” gets you nowhere. The workshopping gets tough, especially during poetry. I recommend bringing lots of work from home if you can’t get advice there. Writing time in locations with lots of people is distracting. I found the British Library the best spot to write outside the dorms.
Mari from CO: It’s hard to sum up an experience like this. You were tired and grumpy and homesick when you woke up in the morning because you should be asleep still back in the States. Yet, when you get around everyone else, you mood rises, and you find yourself smiling with everyone else. The classes aren’t really classes, because classes are boring, and these aren’t. They’re more like... gatherings. You become insanely close with everyone in your “class,” and even closer to your travel group. So when you leave, you’ll go unwillingly back home. It’s more fun to have a roommate so someone else will be as tired as you are when you talk until you fall asleep. It’s something where when you go, you grow immensely as a person, and you come back a different person. This trip is amazing.
Aleena from ME: This is a great experience because of the whole package. With the classes, the city, the day trips, the friends I made - everything was perfect. I really don’t have very many complaints except for the English Breakfast at Ramsay Hall and even then there was cereal to eat. Everything here was interesting and new. These are great experiences and people and I will never forget.
Jessica from VA: I have improved so much as a fiction author in these two weeks. I would tell others not to worry about the money, it is worth it. However, for lower income families, scholarships might be nice. I know two of my friends didn’t apply because of the price tag. The program could be promoted by sending out emails to regular Teen Ink “submitters” advertising London Writing. I love: Teen Ink, London, writing, new friends, experiences, this trip!
Julia from NH: I went to London for two weeks and we did a bunch of writing classes with these great teachers and got great ideas for my stories. We saw some really great shows and I’m in love with Jovert - yes, he’s old, but who cares? - and Antonio. If you get a chance to go, you really should.
Tiffany from FL: I really, really, loved the program and the London Experience part. I liked that we all got to contribute to it. I also loved meeting Luna Lovegood and going to King’s Cross. Also Abbey Road is an interesting place if we could’ve went! I also liked that we all got to be friends from all over. And the Ambassador’s house is incredible! However, the food is horrible! I actually tried duck and lamb! They were nasty but I feel terrible! I think it isn’t too bad - but the unknown foods are kind of scary. Thank you for setting this opportunity up! I love London!
Allison from CA:I would say the food sucked but as long as you stock up it is worth it. I loved making friends and meeting all types of people. I felt there was a lack of diversity however on this trip (no African Americans, Asian Americans etc.) which was slightly disappointing. There are times when I felt overworked (going too many places) but I know it was so we could fit everything in. TOO BAD we couldn’t see “Changing of the Guard.” Construction at UCL classes was very distracting.. I personally don’t like art much so a lot of the museum tours were really boring. I loved the train to Windsor!! Maybe the first day in London should be more relaxed. I couldn’t enjoy most of it because I was SO tired.
Kate from MO: London was the time of my life. Looking back on everything that we did and everything that I learned, I get almost giddy. Even as a writer, there aren’t really words to capture the utter completeness - the happiness - that two weeks in London gave me. From playing soccer on the U.S. Ambassador’s lawn to cheering with Italian World Cup fans on the way back from Les Mis, from screaming bloody murder at “The Woman in Black” to laughing hysterically in the hallway before bedtime, from watching thespians at the Globe Theatre to becoming one at the Regents Park workshop, from exploring the Tate Modern to strolling around Covent Garden, from chuckling over Indian food with my travel group to crying on the last night, London was unforgettable. The teachers and chaperones were outstanding. The classes were intriguing and I gained so much input on my writing from the workshops and in meeting with the teachers for conferences. Plus, because we were living in a dorm filled with other writers, it was easy to knock on a door and say, “Hey, what do you think of this?” It was great to share such a passion for writing with 28 other girls - all enthusiastic, funny, and generous. I was so sad to say good-bye to them, but we decided it wasn’t good-bye forever. Thanks so much to everyone. I can’t imagine a better way to have spent part of my summer. It’s incredible to look back on. Now if that’s not nostalgia, I don’t know what is.
Tiffany from CA: These have been the best two weeks of my life! I’m a writer, yet I can’t even find the words to express my feelings. It was exciting to meet so many girls who share the same interest. I learned so much, not just about writing, but about myself - what I want to do with my life, how much I’d like to travel. I really commend the way you organized and implemented this program, it was perfect! I loved every part of it, even the dorms and cafeteria food! I loved having time to write and visit new places and miss being able to go to the theater every few days. The writing classes were wonderful, I wish my classes at school were like this. I can’t explain how much I LOVED this program. I made wonderful friends and have memories that will last a lifetime.
Jocelyn from PA: I felt like London was home when, no matter where I have gone all my life, I never had that before. Others have the same thing going on, we feel like we belonged in London. I think I might move there permanently one day. Going to UCL for a year in college would be dipping my foot in the water to see how I’d feel about living there.
Ryan from PA: The London trip was incredible. I learned so much about my writing, and about the city. I also made lots of new friends who are simply amazing. I miss them already and it’s been just three days.
Esther from NY: I still miss London though I’ve kept busy. It’s horrible that some of the girls I’ve bonded with live so far away. It was awesome to meet such a diverse group of girls from all over but now the distance is annoying.
Carolyn from MO: This program was intense and one of the best experiences I have ever had. As a writer, you tend to be an observer, never a part of a lot, and here, they tell you that’s okay. Incredibly fun, engaging, thought-provoking, exhausting, and wonderful - that’s all I can say about the trip.
Natalie from MI: Through this program, I’ve not only been able to improve my writing but I’ve become more comfortable sharing it as well. The city was amazing but really, it was all about the people and the lifelong friendships I’ve made in a mere two weeks. This program was amazing.
Emma from MA: I had the most amazing time. I was nervous about making friends and being away from family for the first time, but I made a lot of friends and was never homesick. I learned so much as a writer and improved on all my goals.I loved all the activities and felt I was always in a safe environment. The staff and the girls were fun and easy to get along with. I loved everything about this program and wish I could do it again.
Stefanie from CT: The program was wonderful! I’ve never had an experience like this, where I could sit with any of the girls and have fun, stimulating conversations. To be honest, before this trip, I wasn’t sure such a thing was possible on a large scale. To see the Globe with my friends, to laugh and play around, then easily duck your head to read or write and not be interrupted - it was so amazing. The two weeks flew by and everything was so much fun. I’ve grown so much as a writer in such a short time. There simply aren’t enough words to describe how great this program was.
Kaella from MA: I really enjoyed this program, I feel it was very beneficial to my writing and me. I love the people I’ve met and plan on keeping in contact with them for a long time. You run an amazing program and I am honored to have been able to take part in it.
Meggie from MO: This was the most spectacular program I have ever done! Not only were all the activities spectacular (writing time, visiting museums, libraries, book stores, theatre productions, art galleries and more), but so were the classes! I have learned so much! And the people? Fantastic! At first I was a little nervous but my fears were put to rest as soon as I got to the airport and met the other girls.
Jess from MD: These were the best two weeks I’ve ever had. London was great, very inspiring and a beautiful city. Not many people can say they went to London to write. The teachers were helpful and the staff was amazing. I learned a lot, not only about my writing, but also about myself. I’ve met girls who I plan to stay in touch with forever. They were my support group, and we became like a big family. This was the best experience of my life, one I will cherish forever.
Samantha from FL: This program was the best summer activity I could have done. If you like reading, writing, and learning about British culture, this program is for you. The five plays we went to see were my favorite outings. The English are not stiff and cold like they are stereotyped, they are actually extremely polite and make you feel welcome in their country.
Rebecca from CT: I couldn’t have had a better time. Every day was exciting and writing with the group was amazing. I tend to get homesick, but never was once on this trip. Everyone was loving, supportive, and amazing. This has changed my life forever.
Tiffany from CA: These were the best two weeks of my - I’m not exaggerating. I now know that I want to study abroad during college. This was amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Sally from DE: This program was one of the best I have ever done. It was really fun, and since we were here for writing, I didn’t feel too much like a dorky tourist. Everyone here was so nice and fun to be around.
Kacie from OH: These were the most life changing two weeks. I have a better sense of who I am as a writer. It was a great balance of activities and time writing. The staff definitely showed they cared. I feel like the whole group became a family.
Rachel from PA: This was such a great experience! Experiencing another culture while working on your talents as a writer was awesome. I made so many friends and had such a good time with them all. All the theater productions were great. I feel like I did things that I would never get to do if I just came to London on my own. I love London and Teen Ink!
Brenna from AZ: This was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. To girls who like writing: Consider this program! You’ll meet amazing writers like yourself, realize you’re not alone, and make new friends. I never had a down moment. Loved it from A to Z. There was enough social time to get to know people, yet enough writing/quiet time to collect your thoughts and be at peace. I got along with everyone, everyone is awesome and nice because you’re all from different places but with common interests. No cliques, none of that!
Chelsea from FL: This experience was truly once in a lifetime, and so amazing. I loved everything, from the activities to the other girls. I know I’ve made many wonderful friends here that I’ll keep in touch with in the years to come. My writing has improved and now I’ll definitely write more and on a daily basis. It is such a comforting feeling knowing that there are people out there exactly like me. This program has really opened my eyes to the world. These two weeks have been the time of my life. Thank you.
Shelby from CA: This trip was like a dream come true! I loved the classes and touring with my travel group. London is so amazing! The entire trip was fantastic!
Melissa from MI: I absolutely loved the program, I can’t believe how much of a better writer I got to be in just two weeks! The staff are caring and protective. I would tell other writers to do this program. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and you get to make great friends. London is totally awesome and being there really puts you in an environment suitable for writing. Overall I loved the program.
Esther from NY: This is a wonderful creative writing program which will change the way you think, the way you write, the way you see the world. The girls you meet are so sweet and are understanding of you when you gush about a book. You meet people who actually think.
Amelia from PA: The program has had a great impact on me. I would tell all my writing friends (if they existed) that this program really opens your eyes to a huge variety of people, places, government systems, and styles of writing. The classes have given me new strategies for writing and the activities have given me inspiration.
Molly from NY: The program made me into a better writer. I met so many people and people that I wish to stay friends with. Being in England has blown me away.
Janessa from MA: This experience was so amazing! I met great people, saw unique and beautiful places and experienced art, all while receiving help with my writing. I definitely learned a lot while I was here, more than I thought possible. If I could do it again, there’s no doubt I would. The teachers, classes, and amazing sights all came together to make the best experience of my life.
Ryan from PA: This program was amazing. I got to travel, something I love, and the chance to improve my writing. The people were great, and I made fantastic friends. We saw and did so much, and I know I’ll never forget this summer.
Rachel from NY: This experience has been life changing, I’ve never felt this way about my writing. It feels so good to learn and grow. I enjoyed immensely being around others who feel as passionately as I do. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ll ever have. I got the chance of a lifetime to see a beautiful city and explore it in such a fun way. I loved the past two weeks more than any other weeks in my life.
Treza from MT: Basically, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Apologies for the cliche.) It was a trip centered around writing and I can’t imagine a better atmosphere for inspiration. The girls were phenomenal and supportive. My travel group leader was one of the most interesting, wonderful women I have ever met, or will ever meet. And the teachers helped me structure my writing and breathe new life into it. Not to mention, we were in the middle of London every day!
Josie from PA: This program really was an experience. At first, I was so scared and homesick and now I see that the trip was even more beneficial than I thought it’d be. For one, I now know I can manage without certain people around all the time. I also met people I adore and I know I’ll talk to them for a very long time. Being here has made me a better writer because the people here are so brilliant and such great, amazing writers. We’ve influenced each other each other and I’d recommend the Teen Ink Writing Program for any writer.
Stephanie from MA: I really enjoyed this program. It gave me more time to write and was in an enjoyable environment. I was nervous at first, but by the end of the two weeks I didn’t want to go home. It was such a great group of girls. It was so much fun, a time I will never forget.
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Suzanne from AL: I gained a better perspective of the world, of writing, and of culture. Each class and each activity emitted a ray of inspiration and knowledge.
Jessica from TX: This was the most amazing experience I've ever had. My perspectives are further opened, my creativity has grown. There are hardly words, even for a writer ... Writing in London broadened my horizons in ways I never expected and my life has changed for the better. I am so honored to have been in the company of great writers who will one day storm the world with their words.
Katryna from CA: Love the girls, love London, and love writing! Definitely a trip to remember. I never imagined everything being so beautiful and the people so nice.
Kelsey from WA: Can you believe that a month ago we were just arriving in London very jet-lagged and catching our first glimpses of the amazing city? I've been missing London terribly ... I guess I'll have to go back there for college!
This has been a monumental experience in my life. Despite everything thrown in my path - the lost luggage and, of course, the terrorist attack* - I had an unbelievable time! This is the sign of a good program. At first I was daunted by being surrounded by such great writers; "Why am I here?" I asked myself. It took a lot for me to realize these girls are resources and that I could grow from them. I've never been so inspired to conquer the world with my writing. I feel that I'm walking away with tons of ideas that could grow into something. Also, the relationships I have developed with these girls are great and hopefully everlasting. I was treated so well and I'm so, so grateful for this amazing opportunity. I feel like I know London and can't wait to return.
Danielle from NYC: Being in London was great and I leaned to love the city. I can't wait to go back.
Sarah from MA: Each moment spent here was amazing.
Brittanny from ME: From beginning to end I had an amazing experience. The girls were great and the experiences we had together were very exciting. The instructors were helpful and willing to guide us to success. I highly recommend this insightful program to any girl looking to expand her writing abilities and gain new friendships.
Dana from NY: None of my friends back home are writers so it was an awesome experience to be surrounded by girls who all share the same passion as I do. In reference to my writing, I have never felt more inspired than my time here. I got a lot of writing projects done, plus a lot of good opening lines and half-finished essays I'll complete when I get home.
Jess from MA: This was one of the most unique travel experiences I've ever had. The opportunities that we got because of Mr. Meyer's hard work were astonishing; St. James's Palace in particular was fun. If the program is still running in the future, I would love to chaperone it. The writing was intense, productive and fun. The classes were interesting and much better than any school or college course that I've had. I loved London, the activities chosen were brilliant. We were pushed to do a lot, but nothing more than we could handle. It was great.
Zoe from MA: It was so exciting to be in London. We were always busy seeing the sights and writing. I found so much inspiration here, both from the sights and history we saw and from prompts in class. All the girls are really nice and I made great friends with whom I plan to keep in touch. I think I'll write so much more when I get home. It was great to be able to write every day, I loved this trip!
Lauren from CT: The girls were all great and I found it awesome that everyone was so into the trip and dedicated to writing. I have made friends from all over the country and improved my writing. The plays and activities were great and the classes were very helpful. Even in the midst of the terrorist attack* we remained safe and were able to have fun. This is one of those experiences that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
Emily from NYC: The trip truly was so special. It was a unique and amazing opportunity. The staff was so caring and lovely and I am so grateful I came on the trip.
Naomi from KS: This program has really done a lot to me. I learned how to write differently and now have a more open mind. Mr. Meyer is just so darling and everything about this trip made me realize how grateful I am. This truly was the trip of a lifetime. How many people can say they went to London to write? Teen Ink is unbelievable, thank you!
Christine from Guam: It was such a gift to travel to a place completely different from where I come from, and to meet so many girls who have the same interests and passions as myself. Despite how different we were, we meshed very well. I never felt like an outsider; on the contrary, I felt quite comfortable because they were curious about me without making assumptions.
Roisin from MA: Just getting the opportunity to come visit this country, to spend time working on writing that is important to me, and to make awesome friends were the most important things about this trip. London is an amazing city, a demonstration of how the world differs yet can be so much the same. I had a great time and will miss all the running around when I'm back home in Boston.
Jackie from NJ: I loved that I was able to write in another country with some of the most amazing girls next to me. I've met some great girls and we plan to keep in touch. Conferencing with a teacher about my writing was something I'd never had before and I am thankful for it. With that time, I was able to connect with the teachers and perfect my writing. I've become a better writer.
Tiffany from NJ: I met a group of girls who, like myself, all have a passion for writing and life. I met wonderful teachers who helped me grow as a writer and staff who helped me grow as a person. Everything we did inspired me to write more and think. I will always remember my new friends.
Serah from NH: It was a great program. I didn't even get homesick - we were just one big, slightly dysfunctional artistic family. I think I'll move to London.
Claire from GA: I met a lot of great people, saw a lot of great places and had wonderful teachers. The Globe Theatre was amazing, I felt like I could have skipped the whole way home.
Christina from PA: I really enjoyed this program and learned so much in so little time; I appreciated every minute of my trip. I grew as a writer and made a load of new friends from all over the country. From museums to musicals, palaces to plays, London gives so much for the taking!
*The London bombings took place on July 7, 2005 while the Teen Ink program was in session. We had only one day left in the program, all the girls were in classes at the time and everyone was safe.
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Amanda from PA: This summer in London was one of the best experiences of my rather short, but full, life. I learned so much there. I learned about writing, but more than that I also learned about myself, other people, London, and enjoying life. I made 26 best friends this summer and I really owe that all to you guys [Teen Ink] for picking the kindest, sweetest and most talented group of girls I ever met. Now, I have this amazing network of girls I can email, IM, or write to whenever I feel upset, in need of unconditional love, or want to share my writing. When I was in London I was the real me for the first time in a very long time. Those girls opened up to me and I felt I could open up in return. I wasn't stuck feeling like a dorky bookworm ....
Blair from MA: There were 26 of us standing like jet-lagged sheep in the baggage claim department of London's Heathrow airport, waiting for our mammoth duffel bags to appear. This wasn't just any summer camp - we were dead earnest in our desire to improve our craft. Few of us had ever left the country before, and the city of London, rich in the literary tradition, seemed very vast indeed at 6:30 in the morning after a seven-hour flight. We all had come here because we were willing to put ourselves out there, take a risk and see how our writing measured up in the world, and it seemed very daunting.
Then one girl, a later arrival, skipped up to the group. "Hey girls, are you ready?" she exclaimed, and everyone laughed; suddenly we felt at ease. In the Teen Ink London summer writing program, I felt that I'd made some of the most lasting friendships of my life because we were brought together, from all corners of the United States, for a single purpose. All the time that we were riding the tube in London's polished subways, watching plays from red crushed velvet seats, and sailing on the Thames under Tower Bridge, I could feel that we were different from the other tourists: we came here to write. Every glorious, gold-leaf monument, every beautiful painting, every stony castle was inspiration for us all to write new poems, new stories. The teachers, the classmates, and the surroundings encouraged us to take chances. We walked under millennia-old archways and on the marble tombs of great poets, places we had never gone before, and in our writing we went places we had never even dreamed of going.
One of my favorite stops in our busy schedule was Westminster Abbey. There was the aura of a different century that surrounded me as I walked in a small side door and wandered the cloisters; everyone moved slowly, eyes widened as they tried to take in everything, and spoke in reverent murmurs. The lofty roof shelters the marble tombs of great English Kings and Queens, and I saw and wondered at them all. In Poet's Corner, I saw the tombs of Charles Darwin and Mary Shelley, and walked where Charles Dickens lies. And it occurred to me that this was what I had most hoped for, and received, from this trip: to be thrilled and inspired by the old masters of this elusive craft, and take my writing to new places because of them.
Samantha from RI: I loved London. Everything about it. The streets, the buildings, the tube. Everything. I loved the entire trip. The plays and museums were awesome. The classes and the teachers were great. I felt like the teachers and all the other girls understood what I was talking about. I really improved my writing. The two weeks in London were the two best weeks of my entire life. I met the most amazing people. I love and miss them all. It seems so strange not to see them everyday. All the girls were so cool and fun. In London I think I became a different person. I actually talked and shared my writing something I never do in class. I felt so comfortable there. Now that I'm home I wish I could go back. I try telling people about my trip and no one really understands and no one will except for the people who were there. The London trip and all 26 girls and the teachers and chaperones showed me that I don't have to be afraid to be myself and the going across the ocean with a bunch of strangers is really not that crazy. Strangers don't stay strange for long and everything feels like it was always that way. I miss London and all the girls. Thanks again for the best two weeks ever. I'll never forget it.
Rita from NY: In case i didn't say so before, thank you so much, it was just incredible! I talk to most of the girls pretty much every week, and everything i learned from Ms. Pags and Mrs. Greenwood really helped when I took a writing test for school. I don't know how much you know about the CUNY writing test but the highest grade that you can get is a 12 and I got an 11! I really don't think I would have gotten it if it hadn't been for what I learned in London.
Once again I just want to say THANK YOU for everything! Even though I don't think I can tell you how grateful I truly am for the opportunity you gave me!
The Teen Ink London summer writing program makes you write like you never thought you could!
Christine from NY: The Teen Ink Writing program was an amazing experience. If given the chance again I would take the opportunity. The creative atmosphere was great and I loved the classes. In both classes I was able to learn more about myself and improve greatly. For example in Mrs. Pagliocca's class I was able to learn more about different genres of writing and in Mrs.Greenwood's class I was able to combine art and writing. Even though I have done both for a long time I learned that I could combine them and by doing this I felt that I was able get more inspiration and express myself in a different way.
The sights and the places that I got to see in London were amazing. Some of my favorites were the art museums, "The Reduced History of America"-which was a very funny play and a classic play by Shakespeare called "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I thought the speakers were interesting too.
I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves to write, likes a new surrounding, enjoys to draw, meet new people, wouldn't mind the food or shopping, and a person who would like to learn more about themselves.
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