Do I need to be fluent in English to take these classes?
All of our classes are taught in English, so we do need you to be able to understand, and be understood. But you do not need to be fluent in English. We have outlined the language levels that we recommend for each class here (at ISSOS, we use the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)):
English Language: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with language proficiency level of A1 - B1/2. Students at B2 should consider other academics (for instance Debate or Study Skills) and those at C1/2 level will be too advanced for this class.
Debate: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Study Skills: Suitable for ages 15 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Business & Entrepreneurship: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B1 and above
Creative Writing: Suitable for ages 14 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Youth Leadership: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B1 and above
IB Extended Essay: Students taking this class must be writing their Essay in English, and must arrive with an Essay topic already approved by their school
Journalism: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B2 and above
The levels are explained as follows:
A1: Beginner: Can understand and use very basic expressions, introduce themselves and can interact simply as long as the conversation is slow and clear
A2: Elementary: Can understand frequently used expressions in common topics (ie family, shopping etc) and can communicate routine in simple terms
B1: Intermediate: Can write simple texts on topics of personal interest, and can understand conversations about family, work, school, and describe experiences, events, ambitions, opinions, and deal with most travel situations
B2: Upper Intermediate: Can both understand and write more complex text, and can spontaneously interact with other without too much strain for either them or the person they are speaking to
C1: Advanced: Can write and understand much longer texts, and can understand and be understood in nearly all social, academic and professional settings at more advanced levels of conversation
C2: Proficiency: Can understand almost everything written or heard with ease, and can express themselves using precise terms in complex scenarios
Who can apply?
We welcome applications from every nationality around the world. We accept over 150 students to each campus but numbers are limited to 10% from any one nationality so that the ISSOS experience remains truly international and students can make friends from all over the world.
Our campuses at St Andrews and Yale are for students aged 13 - 18 years old, and our campus at Cambridge is for students aged 16 - 18 years old.
The academic/elective that I want is not showing on the application form?
First check that the class is definitely offered at the campus you are applying for. If it is, but it’s still not showing on the application form it may be because that class is already full. We recommend picking your second choice and letting us know on the application form that you would like to move to the other class if a space becomes available.
Do I need to speak English all the time?
Yes, ISSOS is a fully immersive programme and English is spoken at all times. Our students come from all over the world and speak lots of different native languages, so using English is the only way to be inclusive to everyone. Speaking English all the time is also the quickest way to improve if it is your second language.
Who will be in my group?
When you arrive at ISSOS you will be shown to your room and will find out the name of your group. There will be around 8-14 students in your group of the same gender and age as you, and you will all be living in the same area of halls for the 3 weeks. Your group will have its own group counselor who is there to make sure that you feel safe and happy during your time at ISSOS. Your group will be full of people from lots of different nationalities and ethnicities.
Will I get free time?
The ISSOS schedule is very busy and there are always lots of things going on, but you will get some free time every day. After evening programs, and for shorter times throughout the day there are lots of chances for students to relax, go to the shops for snacks, or hang out with friends.
What are Clans?
We have 4 student clans: MacGregor, Wallace, Stewart and MacDonald. When you arrive at ISSOS you will be allocated to a clan that you will remain a member of every summer you return; if you have had brothers or sisters attend before you, you will always be put in the same clan as your family members were.
The Clans compete against each other in a series of friendly competitions and fun team games, judged by our impartial staff clan, the Munros, to win points that go towards hopefully winning the Clan Cup or Spirit Shield. The clans are also a great way for students to get to know others on campus outside of their class or counselor groups.
Is ISSOS fun?
Yes! Not only are our classes fun and engaging, but outside of class time students will join a Clan, take part in a varied and exciting evening programme of events, go on day trips to nearby cities and generally have the summer experience of a lifetime with their new friends.
Are there rules?
Our rules and regulations are included in our terms and conditions and by submitting an application all students agree to follow them. The consequences of breaking the rules will depend on the individual circumstances. However, ISSOS has a zero-tolerance bullying policy and prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs/legal highs. We reserve the right to dismiss a student at any time, without refund of program fees.
Who will meet me at the airport?
ISSOS staff, wearing our uniform and carrying an ISSOS sign, will be at the specified airport to meet our students on opening day and will take them to the campus by bus. Our counselors will meet the students when they arrive at the campus and will help them to unpack and settle in. Please note students must arrive at our designated airport and between the specified times on opening day in order to be met at the airport. You. can find more information about arrival and departure procedures here (including how we can help arrange a private transfer if needed).
What should I pack?
When your application has been accepted we will send out our information packs which will give you and your parnets information about what to pack as well as our contact details, travel tips, laundry, clothing, trips and general information. You can also download a copy of our student information pack, which includes information on what to pack, here.
We encourage all students to travel with just one suitcase (golfers can bring golf clubs as an additional item) and to pack lightly to avoid excess baggage charges.
Will I be in a shared bedroom?
The majority of our rooms are shared by two students, who will be the same age and gender as each other. We do have some single rooms but we cannot guarantee these to a particular student. If you are sharing, you will be with someone of a different nationality and you will not be sharing with anyone you knew before arriving at ISSOS. The majority of our students arrive alone, so everyone is in the same position and you will be amazed at how quickly you make new friends at ISSOS.
Can you cater for different dietary requirements?
Yes. After your application has been accepted we will send you a Student Information Form that must be completed. This is where you can let know of any special dietary requirements/allergies that we need to be aware of.
I changed my mind about the classes I applied for, can they be changed?
If we have availability in a different class before the summer school starts, we will do our best to change you to a different class. Once the summer school has started, it is not possible to change classes.
What if I don’t like my class when it starts?
If you do not like your class you should let your Counselor know and they will speak to the Head Counselors. They cannot guarantee that you will be able to move classes but they will try to see if a switch can be made.