In this period I am asked really many questions and requests. Many young people and/or their parents followed me last summer and now they ask me how to spend the Summer in Boston.
Spend the summer in Boston how to do
Since this is the period to get organized, I’ve written this post trying to answer to all your questions. I start telling you a bit about what I enjoyed.
Through what I’ve published and publish on the social networks, you have certainly got by now that I immediately fell in love with Boston. It was really love at first sight so that I have even come back there three times in a year. A record for me since I think the world is so big that one life is not enough to visit it whole.
But let’s proceed with order. Boston is a wonderful place: simply moving through the street you breath air of innovation.
Plan to spend the Summer in Boston
Spend the Summer in Boston, a whole Summer in this city is completely unlike to spend a short vacation. Keep that in mind. It’s an aspect not to underestimate for many reasons I’ll try to show you.
As you know well, I didn’t go to Boston alone but with Leonardo Falanga, a maker like me. I’m 15 and he’s 17. We are bounded by many things, not only passion for robotics.
Our adventure to spend the Summer in Boston started much before we took the plane in June taking us there.
My first time in Boston was in January, a journey with my family. Boston always attracted me, so when we started to talk about it, I sent a few emails.
The time spent in Boston is never enough
I surfed the net looking for the locations I was interested in, I made contacted with people, I introduced myself, I asked for info…
At my first arrival in Boston, I already had a thick net of meetings and appointments scheduled.
Keep in mind the time spent in Boston will never be enough. Why? That’s easy. Because more time you spend, more places you visit. More people you meet and know, more new appointments create following one another.
MIT, MediaLab, co-working
At Medial Lab of MIT I’ve met the world of personal robot among robots interacting with children in hospitals, robots to put in kindergartens and elementary schools, robots which are able to recognize your level of empathy towards them…Here it happens to meet in the corridors Scratch’s creator himself, who stops and talk with you, and then the thousand of professional people who work there are one more kind than the other one.
Then MIT is an incredible place. There’s nothing better in the world. Innovation and research in all fields of technology and science. The best brains in the world work here in teams with an only challenge: change the world!
Then I visited one of the many co-working. People told me their stories, took me to their offices and showed me their works. They told me about life here in Boston and they taught me in a flash when I was asking.
At the end of each day I was on cloud nine!
Robotics Department of MIT in Boston
Then the last day I got up and I thought that, among all the super things happened to me, it missed that I was interested in most: the central core of the robotics. What did I do? I surfed the net, I found the facility, passport in my pocket and…I went there. That’s easy, isn’t it?
You cannot imagine my astonishment when I found myself in front of the glass labs of this place. While I was looking at their works they noticed me and made me enter. We started to chat, they told me about their stories and they made me contribute to the creation of the city: the Duckietown.
Their robots are able to recognize lines and go along the road like a car. And, thanks to a cam, they are able to recognize the different objects neighboring them and to move among these.
At the Robotics Department, among all shapes, sizes, difficulties, materials of robots, people can really enjoy themselves. Here every day the projects already present are widen and improved and new ones are created.
There are team works who want to create robots which are able to move alone in a city and above all by a low cost and easily replicable way. Other ones who want to create humanoid robots, then drones, robots joining to create more powerful ones, robots made of origami or printed in 3D…
Imagine my emotion when I even went into Tim Burner Lee’s office, the web creator!!!
In short, few days were enough to make me meet wonderful people and visit incredible places! By this way my curiosity couldn’t but transform: there were many beautiful things to do that I had absolutely to come back to spend the summer in Boston.
Summer Camp to spend the Summer in Boston
So I started again to ask for information exploring what could have been the possibilities. You have to know that the Summer Camps in Boston, as in the whole United States, are really many. It will be enough to surf the net to find them and they are one more interesting than the other one. MIT, too, organizes a lot of them for young people of any age group who are going to spend the Summer in Boston.
Next to them there re many possibilities organized from Italy, too. Do you remember last year I talked to you about the chance of educational vacations on the road in California? Contact directly Marina (Scoprimondo) for the latest news!
Scholarships to be admitted to the Summer Camps
You can pick and choose, all levels and above all anxiety levels of your parents. Of course, more beautiful they are more expensive they are: this is a matter of fact, because, as you know, in the United States education is for a fee.
But there are many summer camps which place scholarships at our disposal: usually you are admitted to them through a selection. It’s a long work of online research but you certainly will find what is fit for you according to your interests and your passions.
Leonardo and I, to spend the summer in Boston, chose Leangap, a summer camp dedicated to the entrepreneurial aiming to create a start-up in six weeks (or at least give us quite a lot of instruments to do it!).
Keep in mind the right period to fill the applications is the beginning of the year. This applies also for the stays inside the summer colleges.
Once filled the application, the wait, the documents’ requests, the online interviews where your English will be checked and above all the very long wait for the answers start!
I’ve passed the selections and I’ve been chosen!
Downloading the email thousand times a day, checking all the social networks, waiting. Then one day you receive the long-awaited email from Boston: “Hello and congratulations!”. You open your own eyes wide and read it again thousand times and then other thousand ones. Then you use even “Translate”, even if you got very well what it says, because you are afraid to believe it.
You start to jump and you would spread the story around but you are at school and you cannot do that…and only few people would understand, anyway!
Then you read it again and stop thousand and thousand times on this sentence: NO ONE HAS EVER CHANGED THE WORLD BY DOING WHAT THE WORLD HAS TOLD THEM TO DO.
Despite the endless difficulties that way of thinking causes every day, you now to be on the right way. There’s nothing better to see recognize it like that: thousands of applications from all over the world for only 40 places available. I’ve been chosen.
The mood of that day is still now beyond description now time later. That day I flew and that day I started to love that American compulsive meritocracy they are so proud of!
Short after the same email was sent to Leonardo, too. Our happiness was sky-high. A dream that comes true. Together!
Summer in Boston: how to solve problems
You start to think about flights and also the first problems begin: not all the airline companies accept under age alone (I wasn’t even 16, the age required), we cannot do long changes or stopovers and flights for Summer are already almost full.
Fortunately, TAP Portugal helps us: it opens a new route towards Boston, publishes sensational offers so…tickets are bought.
But life keeps surprising us. Do you think it is over, yet? Absolutely not!
Do you know the “God helps those who help themselves” saying? Well, after have posted on the social networks that we would have spent the Summer in Boston, we are reached directly by the Duckietown of MIT, that I had visited.
We are asked if we wanted to become senior tester of their project during the Summer, since we were already in Boston, just inside MIT! We would have to make the university tutorial easier to make them practicable also by the young people of the high school.
Always more in the seventh heaven! Even in the eighth! We had the chance to spend the Summer in Boston. The whole Summer in Boston.
Where to sleep in Boston as under age?
Among thousand vicissitudes we were able also to find a place where to sleep. The first part of the Summer Camp was at Simmons College, right in downtown Boston; for the second part at MIT we would have to manage on our own, of course.
Do you have any idea what it means to find an accommodation in Boston for two under age when all the colleges’ applications are already closed?
But not only: change the flight tickets just bought, solve the thousand practical problems one after the other, not last the fact we were two under age alone in Boston.
Of course, there we had really many contacts and helping hands: my parents were ready to take the first flight in case of need, but “technically”…their position, if something had happened, probably would be “child abandonment”!
But could we perhaps miss the chance to arrive to MIT in Boston, from Italy, when we were 15 and 17? Of course not!
They trusted us. They really trusted us.
In the campus where the summer camp took place there were many other young people of every nationality coming from the several parts of the United States and Canada. Leonardo and I were the only ones not English mother tongue.
Difficulties in Boston
I have to tell you at the beginning it was really difficult to understand. They spoke quickly and with their own slang. We felt a bit discouraged: is it possible that our very good English grades at school are so useless?
The first days were really hard. We had to understand what was happening around us and at the same time we had to try not to be left behind with the busy program already started.
We had to understand the dynamics of college and how it worked, things that were taken for granted by other guys. We had to try not to isolate ourselves and this involved an extra effort speaking English practically always.
It wasn’t a picnic! We really slaved away!
Don’t underestimate this aspect: if you aren’t absolutely motivated, the temptation to come back home can be really strong.
The whole Summer is really very long. We had only the weekends free to enjoy ourselves and the evenings, too, but in the evening we were too tired to move, mostly.
Reckon we also had to do the shopping (going to the furthest supermarkets to save, because life in Boston is really expensive), to cook, to tidy the rooms…everything after 10-12 hours out. We were completely alone and we had to be completely independent.
Furthermore, every day we shot a short video telling about what we did and how it was our day. If you haven’t seen them, yet, you can find all of them, in order, on the bottom of this post.
Anyway we were convinced to resist, and yet in the occasional discourage. Once got under way, everything was easier. On the other hand, you know, when you enjoy yourselves and you chase your own passions, the tiredness doesn’t matter and you don’t feet it!
There are many possibilities to find an accommodation in Boston: there are Facebook groups dedicated, there are websites where single or shared rooms are rented, the classic AirBnb… you can begin from these ones to start the research, but there are really many other ones:
The second part at MIT it was even funnier and exciting: we were among the robots, into our world! You think that with our great astonishment and with even professors’ greatest astonishment, we were able to finish our tutorials and to realize our two working robots before the scheduled times.
It was a satisfaction beyond description!
Free time in Boston
Boston offers really a world to spend your free time. My second time in Boston was on the occasion of my collaboration with Visit Massachusetts: I was chosen as blogger to tell the sights of this destination.
Among the really many posts you find on the blog, I recommend you my post about “Romantic Boston” with many ideas, cues and useful tips to enjoy the city with an eye to the low-cost.
If you want to deepen, the MassVacation official website can help you.
Tips to spend the Summer in Boston
I can close this post with a tip for all young people: chase your own passions, cultivate them (not only to go to Boston, this is only a consequence), contact the people you are interested in, the people you would meet, make many questions, explore online the locations you would to visit. Have the courage to try!
Remember that NO ONE HAS EVER CHANGED THE WORLD BY DOING WHAT THE WORLD HAS TOLD THEM TO DO.
Guys, dare and above all learn to think that nothing is impossible. This is the key to arrive where you want! Good luck for your wonderful Summer in Boston!
Our videos from Boston day by day (in italian)