Why a UK summer school is expanding to the USA

Most people are familiar with the summer camp philosophy, they understand that it is a very American concept and that millions of children in the States every year, attend camp.  Summer camps were first introduced in North America in 1880’s and were designed to expose children to nature, taking them away from city life for a few weeks.  Today, the summer camp industry is huge, there over 12000 summer camps in the USA and a plethora of camps to choose from – everything from computer camp and band camp to sports camps and cooking camps. More than 11 million children and adults attend summer camps in the USA every year.  So why then, are a Scottish company who have taken the summer camp philosophy from the USA and developed it in the UK, going state-side to open a summer school where it all began?

With such an established market in the USA, it might seem like a crazy idea for a Scottish company to try and infiltrate this already very established industry.  ISSOS Summer Schools is different however and this Scottish company have identified a gap in the market and believe it is time to take the concept to the USA .  Established in 2005, ISSOS run international summer schools at St Andrews and Cambridge Universities and cater to 13 -18 year olds from all over the world.  Founder and Managing Director of ISSOS, Jen Munro, worked at summer camps in the USA and realised there was an opportunity to provide a well-balanced summer school program, where teenagers could combine academic classes with fun afternoon activities.  ISSOS welcomes almost 500 students from over 60 nationalities to St Andrews and Cambridge, every year. Crucially, ISSOS only accepts 10% of students from any one nationality, making it different from other summer education programs and creates a truly international experience.  

After running summer schools in the UK for 10 years and having perfected the program offering, it has become clear there is demand for something in the US.  Jen knows ISSOS can offer something different to a more international audience, than what is currently on offer.  Jen has built ISSOS based on a values-led mission to create a safe place for young people to learn and grow. Traditional education systems might provide physical safety for students but Jen understands that emotional safety for teenagers is equally as important. Encouragement and inclusivity are key factors in making students feel safe and are undoubtedly part of ISSOS’s successful educational formula.

Following ISSOS’s success and the demand from a high number of returning students seeking new experiences, the company is expanding into America with a three-week, action-packed summer program set to run at Yale University from the 17th July to 6th August 2016.