Summer school abroad is a unique opportunity to combine learning a foreign language and studying additional disciplines with having holidays in the univesity campus. A student finds him/herself in a completely different environment, gets acquainted with other students, communicates with his/her teachers and peers in a foreign language every day, goes on various excursions and visits different events. Studying at summer schools is a real chance for junior school pupils and teenagers to plunge into the culture and traditions of another country and to improve the knowledge of a foreign language significantly.

The estimated cost of studying at summer schools abroad

The USAHarvard Summer School3 weeksHalf board4–18 years old8,500 USD
The USALoomis Chaffee5 weeksFull board12–18 years old10,660 USD
The USARumsey Hall School5 weeksFull board8–15 years old13,700 USD
The United KingdomMagdalene College2 weeksFull board16–19 years old3,970 USD
The United KingdomWellington College3 weeksFull board14–17 years5,240 USD
CanadaBodwell High SchoolFrom 2 weeksFull board13–17 years old3,500 USD
FranceHEC Paris Summer School2 weeksAccommodation onlyFrom 17 years old3,064 USD

Summer schools at colleges and universities

In the summer prestigious colleges and universities open doors for junior and senior high school students from all over the world, organizing summer schools and special courses that help students to adapt to the life in a new country, to plunge into the university lifestyle and to experience a unique campus atmosphere. Summer schools students have the opportunity to use all the facilities, to attend lectures and seminars, to conduct research in laboratories and to visit university libraries as current students do.

A student must know a foreign language at least at the B2 level to attend summer school. The summer school curriculum includes a language learning and certain disciplines studying that are of interest to a student, for example, mathematics, international economics, world finance, introduction to business, commerce and diplomacy, etc. Those pupils who like and have a gift for humanities can combine language learning with the study of philosophy, world history, anthropology, fine arts, dances, etc. This is the main difference between summer schools and summer language courses, since the latter are mainly aimed at improving the student’s language skills. In addition, it is possible to enroll on language courses even if you are an absolute beginner and do not know a foreign language at all, which is unacceptable for summer schools.
Schools at universities and colleges offer a wide range of programmes that cover a variety of specialties: from technical ones and humanities to architecture, fashion and photography. Summer schools students do not spend all their days only sitting at their desks because summer school organizers lay on some entertainment for them, offer excursions to the major places of interest and other universities.

During the period of study at a summer school, students learn more about the host country, its culture and national features, get acquainted with foreigners, improve their command of a foreign language and learn a lot about their future specialization. After leaving a school each student receives a certificate, which in future can make the resume of a future entrant who wants to enter a top foreign university stand out from all the rest.

Summer schools for primary school pupils

For primary school students, summer schools offer rich study programmes of English, several basic disciplines (they are usually mathematics, computer work, academic skills development) and optional ones (arts and crafts, music classes, an additional foreign language, acting technique, dances, fine art, etc.).
Classes are held in small groups of 6–10 people, which allows a teacher to pay attention to each child in the group. Schools impose not too high language requirements on their little students, the level of the foreign language knowledge will increase with each new lesson.

The courses duration and intensity depends on a particular summer school, but the preparatory programmes involve mainly a period of study lasting 2–8 weeks with 20 lessons per week. As a rule, summer schools have excellent sports facilities, which makes classes even more fascinating. Most of centers have athletics and fine art clubs. Often there is an indoor ice rink or a swimming pool on the school premises.

In summer schools, children live and study in accordance with a precise timetable. A certain amount of time is dedicated to each lesson. Homework takes at least two hours a day. Schoolchildren make good use even of their spare time: they practise the foreign language, play on the sports ground under the control of their teachers, join different hobby clubs and go on interesting excursions at weekends.

Summer schools for senior high school students

High school students may expect no less exciting study and holiday programme. In summer schools, high school students will work in a team, will learn how to make reports, presentations and present scientific projects, will improve their foreign language communication skills, will develop the ability to think and discuss and to take an extraordinary approach to ordinary problems solving.

Summer schools abroad offer a wide variety of education courses: business, world economics, finance and banking, in-depth study of foreign languages, as well as of humanities and technical disciplines. Teenagers have the opportunity to choose the desired study programme: several basic and additional subjects. As a rule, compulsory subjects include mathematics, English and 1–2 more subjects. The remaining disciplines can be chosen by students themselves. It can be courses of fine art, music, IT, another foreign language, clay sculpting, acting technique, etc.
Summer schools teachers take a non-standard approach to teaching: teenagers develop critical thinking skills, the ability to work in a team, to show their leadership qualities with the help of debates, discussions and participation in scientific projects. Classes are held in small groups of 10–12 people, which allows a teacher to find an individual approach to each student.
Each summer school develops its own study course of a certain duration and intensity, the programme is usually designed for 2–8 weeks, there are also semester programs (16–18 weeks). The intensity of classes depends on the students’ age and basic knowledge. High school students spend mainly at least 20 hours a week studying in classrooms.

School students study hard and with diligence, but they also find enough time for entertainment and going on excursions. As a rule, there are green areas for playing frisbee, doing yoga and fitness exercises, swimming pools, stadiums for playing football and other sports games on the summer school premises. The excursion programmes include visits to local places of interest, amusement parks, museums, cinemas and even shopping.
In some summer schools related to well-known universities, the study programme is aimed at preparing students for admission to prestigious universities. For example, at Berkeley University summer school, students choose several major subjects, two additional subjects and one seminar. The major subjects are English, business, economics principles, archeology, robotics, introduction to medicine, psychology and even short films shooting. Of course, the choice of basic disciplines depends on the teenager’s future specialty.
As for additional subjects, summer school students can choose several disciplines from the following list: courses on public speaking skills, essay writing, psychopathology, marketing and the digital world, urban design, introduction to genetics, video games design, SAT exam preparation, etc. Students can get some rest from studying at special seminars, which include individual fitness classes, participation in the debate club, learning the art of photography, attending acting courses and so on. As a rule, summer programmes for the schoolchildren preparation for their admission to universities are designed for teenagers studying at 9-11 forms.

What is included in the compulsory subjects list?

  • English course
  • As at usual language courses, English learning at summer schools is based on four components: grammar learning, listening, reading and oral speech development. On the first day of classes, students are tested to determine their real current level of language knowledge. After that, teachers form groups of 6–12 people who have approximately the same level of English proficiency. Next, students take a foreign language course in accordance with the curriculum requirements, classes are held every day. In addition, children also practise the foreign language outside the classroom by interacting with their peers. In some summer schools it is also possible to prepare for the TOEFL or IELTS exam (schoolchildren analyze the test structure in detail, do test tasks and write essays).
  • Mathematics (algebra, geometry and elements of analysis) course
  • In summer schools, quite a lot of time is devoted to mathematics studying. The curriculum and the intensity of classes are selected depending on the chosen course and additional subjects. If at the summer school a senior high school student prepares to enter a university and to take a technical course, of course mathematics will become one of the major subjects for him/her.

  • Academic skills development
  • It is no less important course which is taught at summer schools. It is especially important for senior high school students because at such classes future applicants learn how to write essays, how to present their projects and make a report or presentation in front of an audience, how to take notes of lectures quickly and how to work in groups.

    What is included in the course price?

    • Classes at a summer school
    • Summer school residence or host family accommodation
    • Food
    • Textbooks and stationery for work in the classroom
    • Cultural activity (the basic package usually includes several excursions, for visiting other events you will have to pay extra)
    • Test taking to determine the level of the foreign language knowledge
    • Medical insurance
    • Evening events and activities on the summer school premises
    • Additional courses (dances, fine art, origami, etc.)
    • Summer school leaving certificate

    Additional expenses

    • Visa support (consular fee payment)
    • Travelling by air to the destination
    • Searching for and booking a course services
    • IELTS, TOEFL or other language exams taking
    • Pocket money for a student (about 700 USD)

    Accommodation options during the period of study at the summer school

  • School residence accommodation
  • It is the most practical option since a school residence is located right on or near the school premises. What is more, it costs much less than staying in a separate apartment (besides, one of the parents will have to stay with the child for the period of study, which will be rather expensive). One more important argument in favor of school residences is the 24-hour supervision and looking after children. At summer schools, children follow a precise timetable, so they have very little amount of free time, and even this free time is spent with maximum benefits (sport doing, walks taking, dances, movie nights, etc.). In the school residence children are provided with a full board, i.e. with a minimum of three meals a day and accommodation in a single or double room.

  • Host family accommodation
  • This accommodation option comparable in its cost to living in a school residence might cost a bit more. Host families are carefully selected by the summer schools organizers. As a rule, children are placed in houses where young families without children live. A schoolchild is provided with a single room and two meals a day (a pupil has breakfast and dinner at home and lunch — at school).
    Host family accommodation is an excellent opportunity to practise the language being studied in a variety of everyday situations, as well as to learn more about the culture and traditions of the host country. The only detail that should be mentioned: not everyone can share the house with strangers of a different age, so this option is not suitable for everyone. This should be taken into consideration when you choose a course.
  • Separate apartments accommodation
  • If options offered by the summer school do not suit a student or his/her parents, then you can find suitable accommodation on your own — to rent an apartment or a studio (if your budget allows you to do it). Schoolchildren under the age of 18 must be accompanied by parents in order to ensure the safety of a student. It should be noted that not at all summer schools it is possible to order a programme without school residence or host family accommodation, since the study course is based on the idea of full immersion in the language environment, which is impossible to do if a child does not practise the language outside classrooms. In addition, to find a proper apartment for renting in the city can be a problem or very expensive.

    How to choose a summer school abroad?

  • To choose the language and the country of studying in which the student's language skills will be improved. For an in-depth English learning you should go to the UK, the USA, Ireland, Canada or Australia. To improve your command of German, it is better to choose Germany, Austria or Switzerland, respectively.
  • You should learn about the education and cultural programmes in more detail, since both these points are equally important for a child. Too intensive classes with almost no rest will have a negative impact on the student’s physical state of health and mood. Another no less important point is the variety of courses. Of course, every summer school has its own set of core and major disciplines, but it is important for a student that he/she has the opportunity to choose additional classes according to his/her interests (perhaps someone will be delighted with a drawing lesson or a clay sculpting course).
  • The availability of sports grounds, stadiums and green areas on the summer school premises. In fact, children spend part of their summer holidays sitting at their desks, so they just need to let off steam outdoors by playing in the playground or working out in the gym. It is also important that children can play football or volleyball in their free time, so the availability of spacious sports fields will be useful.
  • International members of the group. If the main purpose of the trip is to improve the foreign language knowledge, communication skills and specialized disciplines studying, in this case it is desirable that a child studies in an English-speaking group where there is no possibility to speak his/her native language. Only in this case you can expect positive results from the trip. It is better to discuss this point in advance with a summer school representative.
  • Advantages of studying at summer schools abroad

  • An opportunity to learn English or any other foreign language
  • Studying in another country, where lessons are given in a foreign language, encourages a student to start speaking it as soon as possible. Children constantly have real speaking practice with native speakers — their teachers. In addition, there are children from all over the world in summer schools, so the international environment will encourage the desire to communicate in a foreign language more.
  • Comfortable learning conditions
  • Summer schools try to provide the most comfortable conditions for learning: a small number of students in groups, experienced teachers and psychologists, a wide choice of programmes and extracurricular activities. Summer schools have sports grounds, football and basketball fields, tennis courts and swimming pools.
  • A precise timetable
  • Each school day of schoolchildren is carefully planned, a certain amount of time is devoted to compulsory subjects, having meals, additional courses, homework doing and sleep. Of course, free time, doing sport and going on excursions hold a special place in the students’ timetable. In summer schools, children always have something to do.
  • New acquaintances and involvement in a new culture
  • Studying at summer schools abroad, schoolchildren make new friends, learn about the traditions and culture of the host countries. Children are not afraid of communicating in a foreign language because they practise it even in their spare time with their peers from all over the world. In addition, without parents’ care and control, schoolchildren become more independent and self-sufficient.
  • High chances of admission to a prestigious university
  • Experience of studying at a summer school abroad can help a student to realize the level of educational standard in top universities abroad, and that it requires a lot of effort to be admitted to the chosen foreign university. It is a strong incentive to continue studying and improving the command of a foreign language. In addition, a note in the academic resume about the completion of a summer school abroad will become a powerful argument in favor of a future entrant.

    Summer schools abroad in photos

    A Harvard University campusHarvard summer school students are having a restHarvard Summer School students are doing their homework and preparing for classesA Loomis Chaffee School campusLoomis Chaffee School students are playing football