The Benefits Of Summer Schools
Summer Schools and Summer Programmes have been around for a long time, and America was the original market leader in running University-based summer schools, directed mainly at University aged students. However, over the past few years, there has been a move towards more university summer schools for high school students, and the UK has quickly followed suit. With the US being the home of the traditional summer camp, they have, for many years, promoted and acknowledged the incredible benefits that attending a residential summer camp or school has on young people.
More and more, the benefits of attending a high-quality summer programme in both the US and UK are being realised by parents, teachers, schools, and young people all over the world, but we are often asked to explain more about the benefits of attending a summer school. So this article is going to highlight some of the key benefits of attending a good international summer school.
Develops a Social Understanding
If you choose a genuine International Summer School (and by that we mean one that caters to a broad nationality mix and doesn't have a large percentage of one nationality) the benefits to young people are phenomenal. When students from lots of different nationalities are put under one roof, they learn about each other's cultures, religions, education, politics, and general thinking. They learn to grow together in a healthy and supportive environment and ultimately, bringing people together in an international setting breaks down so many social barriers, creating a greater understanding of the world around them and helping young people to realise we are all connected. Suddenly the world around them becomes more relevant, and more connected, which in turn builds a much-needed understanding and creates international friendships. When students return home, watching news events from around the world is no longer just about countries that are not relevant to them, they become countries that are home to their friends, creating global citizens who understand their place in the world.
Increases Confidence and Social Skills
One of the most documented benefits of attending an international summer school is the confidence it gives young people. Many students who arrive at a summer programme might not have been away from home before, and attending a summer school allows them to explore their independence in a supervised and supportive environment that has been specifically designed for them. Residential summer schools also give students an incredible opportunity to develop their social skills. Students learn to interact and make friends from day one and for a large number of them, they do so in their second language. For many, this is the first time in a long time that they have had to make new friends or interact with people on a daily basis whom they do not know, which is great practice for entering a new school or when students begin university.
Develops Academic Skills and Learning
Summer Schools that offer academic subjects can provide a valuable learning environment for students. If the academics are taught to a high level by qualified professionals in an inclusive and safe setting, students can gain university-level academic skills that will benefit them throughout their time at school and beyond. As summer schools often teach in a more experiential way than traditional schools, students are involved in the learning process and this often results in a deeper form of learning and applicable skills. Summer School programs often cover public speaking and presentation skills as well as helping students to develop leadership skills that help them both socially and in an academic setting.
Many summer schools offer English Language courses to those who do not have English as their first language. But summer schools that offer a full immersion programme and ensure that all aspects of the program are conducted in English, give students so much more confidence in speaking the language and the huge difference in their level of English proficiency when they return home is often commented on by parents. Even better if you can find a summer school that mixes native and non-native English speakers then you really start to see results both in English development and international understanding. Summer schools that cater to, and mix, native and non-native English speakers are not very common but they tend to be the ones that have a truly international student body as well as an exciting mix of academics to choose from.
Summer Education Gives Students An Edge Applying to University
University admissions are hugely competitive, especially at the top institutions, with students from all over the world competing against each other to gain a place in their course of choice. So how can someone stand out from the crowd when submitting their application? If everyone is achieving the required grades, participating in extracurricular activities at school, taking on volunteering roles, and generally going the extra mile, is there anything else that can be done to make university applications stand out?
Students who choose to spend part of their summer holidays studying, meeting people from around the world and having new cultural experiences demonstrate a willingness to learn and experience new things, a trait that university admissions teams seek out. Spending the summer taking an academic class and engaging in activities in a residential setting shows the person reading your application that you are eager to learn and stand out from your peers. Summer school students also gain a number of skills that can benefit them if and when they are invited to an admissions interview.
Promotes Physical Activity
More and more young people are spending long periods of time inside, choosing to play on electronics rather than taking part in sports or spending time outdoors. Especially after the last few years of life in a Covid-19 world, getting outside and participating in physical activity is more important than ever. Summer schools that have a good activity schedule promoting outdoor learning and activities have the added benefit of encouraging students to get outside and take part in physical activity. Many summer schools have a robust evening program calendar, with a number, if not most, of the evening activities being held outdoors and getting students involved in sporting activities that encourage teamwork and communication skills whilst building their confidence.
Creates International Friendships
Attending an international summer school allows students to meet others of a similar age, but from all over the world! Giving them the opportunity to make friends from different cultures and backgrounds. Every summer we see so many students developing friendships and it is incredible watching these friendships grow year on year as they stay in touch, visit each other in their home countries, meet up at university and go on to become friends long after their summer school experience.
"Summer School has been a life-changing experience for our family. I recommend the experience highly without reservations. Three of our five children have attended ISSOS. Our daughter attended two years in a row, taking Creative Writing and Theatre. Going to summer school helped her get into University and influenced her subject choice. The teachers from many different backgrounds are bright, energetic, and leaders in their fields. The students are truly an international mix, with no one national group more than 10% of the whole group. 3 of our children benefited from summer school, finding friends from all over the world and have kept up with many through the years".
The Flowers Family, USA
ISSOS International Summer Schools
ISSOS has been promoting the benefits of summer schools for many years. We believe that attending a summer school that offers a truly international student body of over 80 nationalities, promoting high-quality academics and electives which are taught by fully qualified professionals in 3 of the world's top universities: St Andrews, Cambridge & Yale, can benefit young people in a way no other experience can and in ways that last far beyond their time at summer school. We hear of friendships that have lasted years after ISSOS and students who have visited one another in their home countries. We have stories of students who had no idea what they wanted to pursue at university or beyond and who have taken part in an academic or elective at ISSOS in which they have found a passion and interest, going on to pursue this both during their study and professional careers.
We have 100's of wonderful testimonials from parents and students talking about the benefits of attending summer school and we are so proud to see the impact that ISSOS has had on so many young people.
Attending a summer programme like ISSOS allows students to experience life away from home, meaning they are better prepared for when the time comes to leave for university. Furthermore, a summer program enables young people to study a subject they may not have the opportunity to take at high school, but which intrigues them and sparks a potential university course and/or career choice.
Summer schools are also a lot of fun! Where else can you spend 3 weeks at a top university campus, with people from different nationalities who all have a common goal – to learn new skills and meet new friends? Attending a summer school is the perfect way to introduce a young person to life at university in a safe environment and takes the mystery (and sometimes worry) out of what living away from home will be like.
Anyone looking to experience an international summer school programme can find more information about ISSOS International Summer Schools and what we offer here.