How to have a fantastic summer program experience

Fri 29 Oct 2021

How to have a fantastic summer program experience

If you are planning on attending a summer school program in the UK and you would like to get the most out of your experience during your stay abroad then look no further. We have put together a few handy tips to help you prepare for your experience.

Academic institutions around the world keep their doors open during the summer months offering a wide range of outstanding summer programs for international students who are looking to further develop a specific subject area, discover a new interest or advance their language skills while experiencing a new and exciting culture and learning environment. During summer schools students normally engage in full-time intensive and interactive classes related to their chosen subjects but they also have the option to join in exciting extracurricular activities which are designed to encourage socialisation and stimulate cultural awareness.

The UK has a longstanding tradition and excellent reputation in welcoming international students and offering them a variety of exceptional summer programs which are designed to make their summer experience unforgettable.  Summer programs are typically designed to be a short two-to four-week intensive learning experience, packed full of exciting and immersive syllabus both in and outside of the classroom.

Doing some preparation and groundwork before your arrival is invaluable to ensure that you have the best possible experience and you get the most out of your short stay in a summer school. Knowing what to expect will save you a lot of trouble and it will ensure a successful study experience.  


Set goals for yourself

Summer programs come in all shapes and sizes and they cater for a wide interest base, therefore it is very important to decide what you are looking for in a summer school before applying so that you hit the ground running as soon as you arrive.  

Think about what it is that you would like to achieve in your short time in a different country. Are there specific subject areas you would like to improve on? Is there a new subject perhaps that interests you and you would like to study in greater depth? Or are you looking for an easier summer learning experience and you are more interested in immersing yourself in a new culture and learning about its history, arts and lifestyle? Consider how many hours you would ideally like to spend in class every day. Typically the average daily learning time is four hours. It is also good to remember that generally speaking science modules often require more classroom contact than arts and humanities modules.  Either way, having a clear mindset about what you would like to get out of your summer school in your brief timeframe will help you focus your mind to make the most of your experience.


Get ready for interactive and intuitive learning

Summer programs are designed to offer an intensive and immersive learning experience to students who are only there for a short period of time. As such, classrooms are often limited to smaller numbers which ensures a higher level of student-tutor interaction and a far more individualized learning experience than students might be used to. Due to the smaller class sizes, the highly experienced tutors can dedicate more time to each student and work on individualized goals. Summer programs are a safe setting to increase your confidence in asking questions, in sharing your insights and ideas and freely interacting with others.  The multitude of interesting practical activities will develop your social and group-work skills and they will actively encourage you to share your thoughts with others. During your summer school you will get the opportunity to immerse yourself in a wide variety of learning activities such as:

  • Inspiring lectures
  • Stimulating workshops and seminars
  • Thought-provoking dialogue, group work and discussions
  • Class work and presentations
  • Class assignments
  • Practising research methodologies
  • Real life scenarios
  • Exciting field trips

It is worth noting that not all summer schools are designed with the same focus and your interactive study experience will vary greatly depending on the program you choose. Therefore, it is important to do your research well and choose the summer school that best aligns with your future goals and your needs for the summer.


Meeting a diverse student body

One of the many privileges of summer school programs is meeting a wide array of like-minded international students who come together to study and live side-by-side for an intensive period of time. Your time spent in a different country will give you the opportunity to meet new people and to form lasting bonds from different cultures around the world. It is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and to learn about the world as you grow and continue on your educational journey.

Many of the students you will meet on your summer program will have the same interests as you and you will soon find yourself making friends for life. Having a global network of friends is an incredibly positive addition to your learning experience. According to research, multicultural learning abroad has been proven to enhance creative thinking, problem solving, and other complex cognitive processes in becoming well rounded and confident global citizens.


Enjoy your experience 

Having said all of this, the best way to immerse yourself into a different culture is to throw yourself into the experience and to have fun. While your summer program is designed to offer you a high quality learning experience, and it is important that you take this seriously, turn up in the classroom and keep to the timetable, the tutors are fully aware that your time on the course is limited, and therefore they will do their very best to offer you a holistic cultural experience on top of your classroom learning. Make sure you pack some comfortable footwear as your course will enable you to get acquainted with everyday life in Britain and you will get the opportunity to walk the streets of famous cities, visit museums and art galleries, attend various cultural events, peruse some famous shops  and maybe even visit the seaside or hike in the countryside.  Take a step back and savour your experience because summer school isn’t just about learning. You will be making new friends and creating memories that will last a lifetime, therefore take the time to relish your experience and engage in enriching social activities with confidence.


A note about British weather

You may have heard that Brits love to talk about the weather and that an umbrella is never far out of reach here. You would be forgiven for thinking that one day we could be wrapped up against the elements and the next picnicing in shorts on the beach. Stranger things have happened but that’s just the way it is here.  Britain’s geography does lend itself to the mild, changeable, and famously unpredictable weather conditions but hopefully you will be greeted with glorious summer sunshine all through your stay in this beautiful country and you will soon realise that talking about the weather is just an easy social interaction in Britain that breaks the ice between strangers. So if you are asked, ‘Lovely weather, isn’t it?’, you don’t even need to particularly respond. Just a little nod and a smile will suffice, but make sure to pack some waterproofs!


illuminate Cambridge empowers, uplifts and educates girls

Choosing the right summer school program can be a tricky decision with so many options available. This is why we are so incredibly proud to be offering our Illuminate Cambridge summer program, a meticulously designed two-week, all-girl summer school program led by outstanding tutors in this world famous university city. Come and study in this quintessentially English university city filled with rich history and heritage and walk in the footsteps of many famous students who have studied in Cambridge over the centuries.

Our illuminate Cambridge all-girl summer program is carefully designed for 15-17 year-olds. It offers exceptional classroom experience with outstanding academic lessons alongside diverse social activities that cultivate knowledge, develop skills and nurture independence, preparing students to pursue their aspirations with confidence and drive.

Our illuminate Cambridge summer program tutors are dedicated to delivering exceptional quality teaching and are highly experienced in creating an inspiring, collaborative learning environment in which girls aged 15-17 can thrive. Our inclusive learning environment is founded on respecting diverse perspectives and it encourages students to learn from each other. This fosters acceptance and a sense of belonging, in which girls can connect with each other and form lasting friendships.

Join us at illuminate Cambridge summer program for a two-week academic and cultural program where we will explore history, politics, international relations and oracy while discovering Cambridge’s history and hidden treasures along the way. You can apply for your place here.

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