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Summer schools: Our Experiences

Introduction

Recently, summer schools offered by universities have become more and more popular among high school students. Students from all around the world can travel to these summer schools to learn more about a subject that interests them together with like-minded peers. Summer programs are now offered around the world and aside from using your summer productively, summer schools also allow you to make friends from different places and discover a new area!

However, attending a summer school does mean that you “sacrifice” part of your summer break to study and although most programs do offer scholarships and some programs are even completely free, travel expenses and attendance fees can be quite high. So are summer schools still worth the time and investment? Below you can read a reflection from our founder Lilly and our writer Alessandro who have both attended summer schools before, and spoiler alert: they both agree that summer schools are 100% worth it!

Lilly

During the summer of 2019 I attended a summer school at Oxford University in the UK. There, I studied a course called international relations and politics, and I absolutely loved it! Those two weeks that I spent in Oxford was one of the best times of my life, in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to discuss ideas with peers who had the exact same interests as I do, something which is not always the case at school. However, aside from academics it was also a great experience. I met people from around the world with whom I am still in contact with today. The possibility to discover a beautiful and historic city such as Oxford was also amazing. Overall, I really enjoyed my time there and am really glad that I had the opportunity to participate in one of the Oxford Summer Courses (OSC) summer programs.

This year (summer of 2020) I participated in two more summer schools. Originally, I had applied to a summer program in Washington D.C.— at Georgetown University — but unfortunately because of the lockdowns it became clear in spring 2020 that I would not be able to attend. Therefore, I applied to a summer school at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy instead. There I studied two different courses called “EU for sustainable globalisation” and “Strategy.” I actually met Alessandro during my EU for sustainable globalisation course! Although the summer school was a lot of fun and I did learn a lot and meet many people, it was definitely not the same as Oxford was. The personal connection that I was able to form with my peers at Oxford was missing. Later during the summer I attended another summer school offered by Columbia University in New York, United States of America. There I attended a course called psychology: understanding human behaviour. It was a subject I previously had no experience in, but the course was really great and I had a fantastic professor. Because of the time differences, though, my classes only ended at 11pm every day…

Overall, I would definitely recommend everyone to attend a summer school if it is possible for you because it is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. If you have any questions regarding applications for summer schools, please feel free to reach out to us at econirweb@gmail.com!

Alessandro (@alexandros02)

I have done one summer school in July 2020 where I studied a course called EU for sustainable globalisation and another course called computer coding (with Python) at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. However, because of the lockdowns the summer school was virtual. Personally, I found the course on computer coding really good for its validity and the fact that computers will play a big role in the future. These courses really opened my mind and I was able to see a different perspective of the present world. The summer school was really international and I loved it! It was really great because one had the opportunity to collaborate with experts, i.e. university professors. Therefore, I strongly recommend everyone to attend a summer school like this one because it is simply a great and life-changing experience.

Final Words

We know that it is not possible for everyone to attend summer schools. However, many summer programs do offer either need-based or merit-based scholarships to students who apply early enough. Therefore, do not feel disheartened! Overall, make sure that you apply early enough as many summer programs admit students on a rolling basis and make sure to choose a course that you are really interested in. Also make sure to take into account other factors such as the time difference as at the moment it looks like as if programs will be take place virtually again in the summer of 2021, and if programs are offered in person the travel arrangements. Good luck! Let us know below in the comments if you have also attended a summer school before. We would love to hear about your experiences!

If you are interested in attending a summer school also make sure to look out for our upcoming post on the university section where we will introduce different summer programs! We hope to publish the post in the December of 2020.

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