Sunny Day School
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8013 Tetotom Park Way Antelope, Ca 95843

Antelope, Ca 95843
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What are summer schools?

Summer schools are educational courses on a variety of topics that take place, as it is easy to guess, in the summer. One summer course lasts from a week to a month. Sometimes within the school you can choose several courses and so extend your participation.

Organizers of summer schools can be Russian and foreign universities, research centers, non-profit organizations, private companies and independent experts willing to share their knowledge. Some schools receive funding, so they can give scholarships to participants.

In addition to summer schools, there are also winter schools - they, respectively, take place in winter. But I have no experience of participating in them: it was always difficult to combine them with my vacations.

What summer schools are

There are Russian and foreign summer schools.

At first I took part only in Russian summer schools and thought that it was impossible or too expensive to get to foreign ones. This is partly true: it seems to me that often European and American universities perceive such schools as a business and make good money on the desire of international students to look at the "Western education" for a while. In addition, full scholarships to attend the top foreign schools are almost never available.

At the same time, smaller universities have full funding for summer schools: small or young universities try to raise their visibility in this way and are therefore willing to allocate more resources to attract international students to participate in their schools. For example, the WFI Summer School in Germany and the UDC Summer School in Spain, which I will discuss further in the article, are held at small universities.

For different ages. There are schools for schoolchildren, students, as well as for those who have been working for a long time or even retired. It is the student schools that I have mostly encountered and I will talk about them in the article.

Sometimes the student schools can be attended by older people. For example, at the school of the University of Oslo the courses can be taken by anyone with a bachelor's degree, i.e. you do not need to be a student at the time of participation. And in the "Summer School" in Russia, many courses do not have any age limit.

At the same time, such schools may cost more and not give out scholarships for participation. For example, in the summer school of the Amsterdam Free University the price for students is lower than for those who have already graduated and are working.

For different purposes. Most often, people go to summer school to broaden their horizons and deepen their knowledge on a certain topic. For students it can be, for example, a topic or subject from their university specialization.

Studying in summer school allows you to learn everything in an intensive mode, but in a less stressful environment. Although some schools do give grades, they cannot negatively affect a student's academic performance at his or her university. What's more, students tend to be interested in learning - they are selected by achievement or motivation letters. This creates a school environment that is productive for learning.

Sometimes under the name "summer school" there are research internships for technical students. During such internships, the student performs his or her own research under the guidance of a professor or industry expert. For example, Kupcinet-Getz International Summer School in Israel is one such internship school.

Another purpose of summer schools is travel. You can pick up a school in another Russian city or abroad and combine your studies with exploring a new place. Such a trip can be very budgetary, if you manage to get a scholarship, and certainly will never be boring - you will always keep company with other participants.

Some students specifically come to summer school to get to know the university where they would like to attend graduate or undergraduate school. In summer school you can experience the atmosphere of studying in a particular country or university, meet professors and receive a letter of recommendation if you perform well.

Sometimes summer school can help raise your grade point average or have an impact on your course load: for example, a student at his college may be able to get credit for a course that he studied in summer school. To do this, you need to find out if your university counts the grades and credits - learning units - earned in summer schools.

For me, when choosing summer schools, the course program and location mattered a lot. For the sake of an interesting course I could go anywhere. But for the sake of a good location, for example in another country, I was ready to go to a less suitable for me course.

tami.williamson5@surewest.net