Summer study abroad programs usually take place between May and August, for varying lengths of time all around the world. Nearly every program provider and university offers summer semester programs, but not all students explore this exciting opportunity to study abroad. Summer programs are short-term, but that does not mean they are short-lived, studying abroad in the summer can provide all the same benefits a fall semester abroad can, and maybe more.
Studying abroad during the summer semester will provide you with course credits condensed into a shorter period of time, and combined with unique ways of learning that allow you to escape the traditional classroom setting. Summer programs often include excursions to various locations or field trips around your study abroad location, providing hands on learning experience not possible at your home university.
Taking learning outside the classroom will revitalize your passion for learning, as you experience a new culture, environment, and lifestyle, which will inevitably inspire you in your educational endeavors back at home. Studying abroad will teach you new things about yourself that may just shape the direction of your degree, and furthermore you may be exposed to new ideas and fields that could turn into your future career.
Europe. The number of summer study abroad programs in Europe is huge, especially in top destinations like Italy, England, and Spain. Students can take advantage of the summer weather (thought they will be confronted with crowds of people from all over the world since summer tends to attract millions of tourists) and see everything that Europe is known for, while taking classes as some of the top universities in the world. Summer programs in Europe tend to include excursions to world famous historical sites and plenty of opportunities to experience European culture fully. There are also invaluable opportunities to take intensive language courses in Europe.
South America. Traveling to South America in the summer time for a study abroad program often means you’ll be combining coursework with service learning projects. Whether helping with conservation in the Galapagos Islands, working with kids in Rio de Janeiro, or contributing to community development in the remote areas of Peru, study abroad in South America will open students’ eyes to a whole new world, quite literally. Summer programs in South America also provide students with the perfect opportunity to explore destinations throughout the region at the end of the scheduled program, especially since travel can be quite affordable within South America.
Central America. Known for a combination of adventure activities and environmental conservation efforts, studying abroad in Central America during the summer term will surely be exciting and unique. Programs often take students to multiple destinations, allowing them to compare and contrast cultures, economies, and much much more, not to mention students from the U.S. won’t have to fork over thousands for the plane flight since the region is within arm’s reach. Summer study abroad in Central America typically provides students with the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in their area of study and experience everything from trekking up a volcano to sea turtle conservation efforts.
Studying abroad during the summer term is unlike study abroad during any other semester, and it will therefore present a variety of unique opportunities for students.
Academic Credits. Summer programs typically provide students with three to six academic credits at the end of the program, even when the program is as short as four weeks. Instead of earning three credits after three hours of class per week over an entire semester, students who study abroad in the summer will get the same amount of credit in a condensed time frame, while combining their education with one-of-a-kind experiences outside the classroom.
Subjects. During summer study abroad programs there are usually a specific set of subjects covered, especially if working with a study abroad program provider as opposed to enrolling in a foreign university. The type of courses you will be able to take and the variety of subjects available will all depend on the location or region where you choose to study abroad and the institution that is providing your program. Whether you explore development in South Africa, Spanish language immersion in Spain, conservation in Costa Rica, or business and economics in China, summer study abroad programs will provide you with the chance to truly experience another culture and enjoy a unique educational experience.
Schedule. Just as subjects are often focused in summer program, so are itineraries. Many summer study abroad programs have pre-planned, set itineraries that are provided to students months before departure and not optional (or very flexible). This set up can be great for some students, while others will prefer selecting summer courses at a local university where their weekends and free time is spent based on their own spontaneous desires. However, a set itinerary typically means costs are all inclusive and excursions are pre-arranged, creating a “no-fuss” advantage.
Duration. The summer term is obviously shorter than a regular semester, which means it requires less of a time commitment for those with tight schedules or a summer job in the works. Programs can last as short as two weeks and as long as three months.
Extras. Excursions, language lessons, event tickets, internships, and service learning opportunities are almost always included in a summer study abroad program, although not usually all in one program. The summer term is built for more than just coursework in a classroom, so students will likely be provided with the chance to participate in many other forms of learning. When selecting a summer program, be sure to check out all the extra activities that are included or available to add-on.
- Summer study abroad programs require only a limited time commitment, so they are great for students with part-time jobs, familial obligations, or busy course schedules.
- Shorter program means a lower cost, so summer programs can be more financially affordable for students on a tight budget.
- Fun excursions are almost always included in summer study abroad programs, and if they aren’t, you can always travel before or after!
- Studying abroad in the summer means you will earn academic credits during a shorter time period than taking a class during the regular semester, and it won’t seem like you are even taking any credits half the time.
- Spending the summer traveling and taking classes abroad is a great way to satisfy your itch for travel in a way that keeps Mom and Dad happy, as you will continue to work toward your educational or career goals.