Application? Done. Offer? Received. Now what? There are lots of things you can get ready before you leave for your summer school and it’s important to get on top of things if you want to make as much out of the experience as possible. Have a look at our top 4 steps for preparing for a summer school and once you’ve completed them, you’ll be totally prepared to get cracking on with a summer of fun.
Research the city
Most students embarking on a summer school course will do so either in a country or city that is unfamiliar to them, ensuring a refreshing cultural experience. If you are travelling to a place you’ve never been before, it’s well worth doing a bit of research before you go to get a feel for the place you’ll be calling home for the duration of your course.
It’s a good idea to visit the city’s tourist website, where you can discover all about its history and attractions with a few clicks. Youtube videos can also give a real perspective of wandering around a city, whilst many providers will offer information pages on the locations they operate in on their website. Familiarising yourself with a city before you go can make your arrival less nerve-racking and it can be much easier to settle in quickly. You might also want to make a list of some of the main attractions and sights that appeal to you so you can be sure to work through your bucket-list during your time in the city.
Homesickness? Beat it!
It is completely normal to feel apprehensive when heading away from home, particularly if it’s your first time doing so. Many students may experience some form of homesickness during their stay and it’s important to remember that it’s a natural reaction to being in a new environment away from homely comforts. However, there are some simple steps you can put in place before you head off to make the transition slightly easier.
When you’re feeling homesick, it can often help to have some calls scheduled with home. It’s important to not rely too heavily on these calls so you can enjoy your time with new friends but planning a few throughout each week can be a comfort when you’re feeling upset. Some students may find keeping a journal during their trip to be soothing, both for recording the amazing memories they’re making as well as a space to release their feelings.
Packing a book or some entertainment for when you’re feeling particularly anxious can also help keep your mind occupied, whilst retaining a positive mindset by reminding yourself you’re not away from home for long can also be beneficial. Bringing a homely comfort with you, whether that be a beloved toy, your favourite snacks or a photo from home, can also help to reduce feelings of homesickness. Whatever makes you feel connected to home can be helpful but remember that once you’ve settled in and become engrossed by your studies and obsessed with your new friends the feelings of homesickness should disappear!
Be ready to make friends
One of the best parts of joining a summer school is the great group of friends you’re likely to meet. It might seem strange to prepare to make friends, but it is important that you arrive with an open-mind and the desire to make friends. Thinking of a few conversation starters or questions can be really helpful, such as asking where someone has travelled from or what course they’re studying. You might also want to ask about their hobbies and see if you have anything in common that can move the conversation forward. Having a couple of questions and conversation topics ready can be really helpful in getting to know those around you and kickstarting the friend-making process.
A tactic that many university students use to make friends when they arrive in their residences is to prop open their bedroom door and bring something they can share around. This could be anything from sweets and chocolate to fizzy drinks or a game of cards, but by leaving your door ajar and offering a token gift to the people on your corridor, you may find the conversation starts to flow much faster. Everyone will be feeling the same and are likely to be slightly nervous, so they’ll be relieved to see a friendly face with an invitation to chat and hang out.
Read all the welcome information you’ve received
This one may seem obvious but it’s crucial that you read through all of the information you’ve been sent by your summer school provider. This may include timetables, course outlines, advance preparation or school rules, but all of this information will be important when you arrive.
If you’ve been sent emergency phone numbers, it’s a good idea to save them to your phone so they’ll be easily accessible should you ever need them. You may also receive a list of the key items to bring, such as the correct stationery and clothing, so you don’t want to miss out on these key details when you’re packing your suitcase. Reading through all the welcome information could also get you even more buzzed and excited for starting your new course, so it’s a win-win!
Preparing for your summer school is an exciting process that can get you in the perfect mindset for starting your course. Doing your pre-course reading and packing some essential items to help cope with homesickness can put your mind at ease before arriving, whilst getting into a friend-making mindset will be useful when socialising with other students. A bit of city research can also help combat homesickness and make you more familiar with the place you’ll be studying and get you eager to begin exploring as soon as you arrive.