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10 things to consider when choosing a summer school

You know you want to study abroad this summer, but with the whole world to choose from, how do you decide where to go? We’ve provided 10 tips to help you make the right choice

1. Start with a great city…

Your host city will also be your home for those long summer months, so make sure you choose somewhere that will make you feel challenged and invigorated yet safe and comfortable. According to the QS World University Rankings website, top considerations for international study include a vibrant social scene, location within a ‘must visit’ country and efficient public transport. The guide ranks Edinburgh in the top 30 Best Student Cities, thanks to its world-famous festivals, cosmopolitan population, fascinating history and location in the heart of ‘Bonnie Scotland’.

2. …in a great country

Speaking of Bonnie Scotland, it’s worth remembering that your host city is also a gateway for exploring the rest of that country. Of course there’s the usual considerations – scenery, culture, activities – but the country you visit also provides a context to your studies. If you’re a History student, does your destination offer a rich cultural heritage? As a scientist, is there a strong culture of innovation? Consider how each destination could enhance your learning experience.

3. Look for international prestige

International study is a valuable entry on any CV, but all the more so if you receive your education at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Look out for factors such as a broad and imaginative curriculum, strong research output and high rates of graduate employment. The University of Edinburgh places 17th in the QS World University Rankings. Over the course of more than four centuries we have advanced the world around us, from inventing the first anaesthetic to the discovery of the Higgs boson.

4. Do the courses inspire you?

Studying abroad can give you a fresh perspective on your subject area or add a new dimension to your degree. Look for courses that genuinely excite your interest. For example, our literature course takes students on a journey of discovery through the city streets to the favoured haunts of our celebrated writers. Use your imagination and consider how this summer could re-energise your studies.

5. Will you earn credit?

Your summer will be an exciting adventure, but you also want it to contribute to your academic career. Academic credit is available to all students registered on credit-bearing courses at Edinburgh Summer School, and your home institution will receive a copy of your academic transcript. Individual course descriptions contain detailed information about the level of credit available and the corresponding workload, so that you feel well prepared for your visit.

6. Vocation vocation vocation

Every university has its own identity and culture, so it’s worth thinking about what kind of educational experience will be most rewarding for you. If you would like to add context to your academic studies, you could look for a summer school that has a strong vocational element through work placements. Many of our courses include short internships, which look great on your CV.

7. Cosmopolitan destinations

Living abroad, even temporarily, can feel a bit daunting. When researching summer schools, it may be worth considering whether you will have the opportunity to meet lots of other international students. Multinational cities are vibrant places to be, and you will discover new cultures and make friends from all over the world. Here at Edinburgh, we welcome students from over 130 countries, so you’ll never feel out on a limb.

8. Learn the language

If you’re not already a native English speaker, summer school at an international university is a great opportunity to master the language. Even if you already have a strong command of English, summer schools with a diverse student base will allow you to benefit from multiple language circles.

9. How’s the social scene?

Beyond the books, you will want to discover everything that your host city has to offer ­– from green spaces and architecture to museums and restaurants. Many international summer schools now include a tailor-made social programme to help students get the most out of their summer abroad. You can read about ours here.

10. Start exploring

Many international students relish the opportunity to wander a little further afield. Consider how well-placed your prospective summer school is for more adventures. Edinburgh is in an ideal location to explore the rest of the UK, and you can reach all the gems of mainland Europe within a couple of hours.