When spending part of your holidays on a summer school course, making the most out of the experience is the best way to gain some amazing memories and learn as much as possible. Doing some research before you go and adjusting your mindset can be really helpful to ensure that you enjoy your summer school and get as much out of it as possible, whilst using the experience to get ahead academically can be invaluable.
1. Be open-minded to trying new things
One of the best pieces of advice we can give to students setting out on their first summer school is to be open-minded throughout the experience. Remain open to trying new things, meeting new people and learning as much as possible.
When you’ve travelled to a new city and are surrounded by students you’ve never met before, it’s all too easy to let the nerves take over but remember that everyone is feeling the same! By staying open-minded, you might find yourself unexpectedly joining a group of students who want to go and explore the city or grab some food and they could end up being some of your closest friends. Muster up your courage and try and make some conversation with those around you and you may be surprised about how much you have in common.
Trying new things that you might not choose to do by yourself can also open up avenues to explore, and you might end up really enjoying punting down the rivers in Oxford or trying local specialities in Edinburgh. If you’re trying new things with some of the other students in your summer school, there’s also a great opportunity to get to know everyone better and make some lifelong friends along the way.
2. Soak up some culture in your new home
Another great way to make the most out of your summer school is to try and see as much of the city you’re studying in as possible. It’s often a good idea to head to the local tourist office when you arrive and grab a map and explore some of the most well-known attractions and activities the city has to offer. Make a note of a few of the things you really want to see and invite your new friends along, who may well be interested in some exploration too. Sightseeing is a great way to bond with your fellow students whilst also gaining an insider’s perspective of a city and its past.
Whilst wandering around, you might find a charming café serving decadent hot chocolate, a buzzing restaurant with a lively atmosphere or even a quaint independent business selling gorgeous keepsakes. As most of the cities offering summer schools tend to be very accessible, either on foot or via public transport, students can easily travel around and see lots outside of their study time and scheduled classes. Playing the tourist and getting out and about in your new temporary home also ensures you have a culturally enriched experience and get a great set of photos to show your family when you get home.
3. Get ahead academically
Whilst summer schools offer an amazing chance to make a great group of international friends, it is still an experience with an academic focus and so you must make sure to stay on top of your work. You may be set homework or reading to do in the evenings or be expected to prepare for a class debate, so it is crucial to remain focused on your academics throughout the experience in order to achieve as much as possible.
Unlike term time school, a summer school lets you dig deeper into your chosen subject and really get to grips with it, giving you a great advantage when you return home to classes, exams or to begin university. Summer schools balance a thorough academic experience with the culture of a new city and the eclectic mix of international students, making it a truly unique opportunity to get ahead in your studies and learn lots outside of the curriculum. This experience can be invaluable on university applications and provide some practical experience to help you in the future.
4. Figure out where you want to go
In terms of thinking ahead, it’s a good idea to use the summer school experience to help decide what it is you want to pursue in the future. From career aspirations to university decisions, using the summer to intensely study a subject can really help focus your goals and decide what path you want to follow. Summer schools are also unique in offering subjects not available on the curriculum, such as medicine or fashion, so giving these a try before you commit to them in the long run can be a valuable way to make the most of your time.
You may even try something new when choosing your summer school course and opt for something completely different to what you’ve tried before. For those unsure what the future holds, some summer school providers offer courses intended to give you a taste of lots of different subjects to help narrow down the choice. These flexible programmes are great if you’re indecisive and want to try a few different subjects before settling on one to pursue in the future. Using this opportunity to try something new that interests you can be invaluable when you come to choosing your university course or even future career.
A summer school experience is truly valuable, and you have the chance to get as much out of it as you want. Experience some culture, try new things, set yourself ahead in academics and figure out your future plans all whilst studying on a summer school course.