After managing to choose your course, provider and location, it’s time to put a few plans in place for when you actually arrive at your summer school. It’s great to be organised and think about ways to get to know the city better, as well as making new friends and getting as much out of the experience as possible.
1. Collect important phone numbers
From a safety perspective, ensuring you have taken a note of all the necessary emergency numbers is of paramount importance. Saving them as contacts to your phone makes them easily accessible in case of emergency, whilst it may also be wise to write them on a piece of paper in case you lose your phone.
Alongside getting hold of the contact details from your summer school provider, it’s also a good idea to write down key emergency numbers in the country you’re visiting. In UK cities, dialling 999 from your phone will put you through to the emergency services, who can direct your call towards the appropriate service.
2. Visit the tourist office
Most, if not all, cities have a tourist office to display the exciting and unique attractions open for exploration. If you haven’t visited a city before, popping to the tourist office ensures that you are well-equipped to roam around some of the unusual sights that make that place so special. Tourist offices will also be able to provide you with a map and staff will be able to assist in getting you acquainted with your immediate surroundings and pointing out the top attractions nearby.
As well as grabbing your handy map, you can also have a read of the posters and leaflets in the tourist office. Not only will this be a great way to familiarise yourself with the sights, but many of these leaflets will also provide discounts and special offers to those who bring them to the attraction, so it really is worth going if you want to get to know your new home more.
3. Make sure you come prepared
Although it might seem trivial in comparison to all the exciting new people and places you’ll be seeing, making sure you’re correctly prepared for your course is crucial in making sure you get as much out of your summer school experience as possible.
You’ll probably have been sent packing lists before you arrive, but if you were unable to find any of the items or forgot a couple of bits of stationery, talk to your supervisor and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. You should also come ready to learn and prepared to engage in the tasks you’re set and ask questions. Although a summer school experience is hugely social, the primary focus is still on the academics and so arriving with the right attitude and mindset can enable you to get really stuck in from your first class.
4. Have your bucket list to hand
If you’ve read our post on how to prepare for your summer school, you’ll know that one of our top tips is to research the city before you arrive. This is so that you can get excited about your trip, but also so that you can have a look around at some attractions that may appeal to you.
Once you’ve done your research, making a short bucket list of some of the things you perceive as unmissable is a great way to dive into exploration with your new friends. You’re likely to see a couple of the sights during extra-curricular activities or social events, and it can be really fun to tick them off your list as you go.
Whilst the structure of the courses differ depending on which provider you’ve chosen, most will also allocate sessions for free time, during which students tend to explore the city. When these are timetabled vary but having your bucket list ready for when you arrive means that you can begin discovering exciting attractions as soon as possible. Knowing a couple of sights that you’d like to visit can also be a great way to start conversation with other students, and you might find yourself swept into a group all running off to explore!
5. Make your room homely
When you first arrive at your summer school, some students might experience feelings of homesickness or nervousness, both of which are completely normal. In order to start feeling at home as soon as possible, begin by unpacking as much as you can as soon as you’ve got a bit of time to yourself. Living out of a suitcase can be a constant reminder that you’re away from home and can thus be detrimental to those already suffering with homesickness. It also makes the space feel much more personal and like somewhere you can relax after a long day of classes.
Even if you’re not fazed by the idea of being away from home, making your room feel cosy and homely when you arrive will help you adapt to your new surroundings. It’s important to feel comfortable in your room during your stay, as there may be times when you need to complete independent study or wind down for sleep. Making the room feel like your space as quickly as possible is the best way to settle in and get involved with making friends and learning.
When you arrive at your summer school, there is a lot of information to digest in a short period of time. Taking a breath and getting hold of useful information like emergency numbers and tourist maps can be a great way to feel at ease. Arriving prepared and with a bucket list can also make the experience much easier to adapt to, whilst unpacking and making your room homely are great ways to combat homesickness.