Know the Benefits of Summer Courses for International StudentsJuly 28, 2014
As July rolls around, the academic year has long ended for the summer at most American colleges. International students may be packing their bags to go home for the summer, or preparing for their first big to move out to the U.S.
Although the summer vacation should always be used to take a well-earned break from studies, international students who feel unsure about how to fill this transitional time between academic years may find researching their college’s summer schedule useful. Many American colleges don’t shut down at the end of the year, but reopen their doors for summer school. Here are four reasons why international students should consider attending classes during the summer break.
1. Summer courses can be an excellent transition into college for incoming international students. For any international students due to start college in the fall, the summer might seem like an endless stretch before the beginning of an adventure. International students ready to move to the U.S. might want to consider enrolling in summer classes to begin their adjustment to college life.
While summer courses are popular in America, campus life is typically quieter than at the beginning of an official academic term. This provides any new students with a great opportunity to get to know their new campus and surrounding area at a relaxed pace, and would help bypass any adjustment pains once the academic year begins. Taking a summer class can also give new students a good idea of the ways in which American college classes differ from the ones at home.
2. Summer school is a great opportunity to boost your grades if you’ve fallen behind: For international students enjoying a prolonged study abroad experience, summer courses can still prove invaluable. Thanks to what some students find to be the intense nature of American college courses, it's not uncommon for students to find the academic aspects of their college experience overwhelming.
For international students who find themselves in this situation, taking a summer class is an effective way to pick up extra credits and boos your GPA. Studying through the summer might not be your favorite idea, but if you’ve fallen behind during the year, starting again in the fall will only become harder. A bit of extra work will help struggling international students get ahead at the commencement of the next academic year.
3. Summer school is an engaging way to fill vacation if you aren’t able to go home. Studying in a foreign country is an amazing experience, but one of the downsides to living so far away is that it’s not always the easy to travel back home during the holidays. If you’re not able to go home for the summer vacation, or if you simply planned not to make that journey, it’s always worth considering how you will spend your vacation.
It may seem an odd choice to spend your longest vacation of the year around your college, but be realistic about how easyand expensive it actually is to fill eight weeks without getting bored or running out of money. Summer classes can be a good way of providing a schedule and some regularity to your holiday, and it’ll keep your brain ticking.
4. Summer school is a study abroad opportunity for students who’s home colleges don’t offer the experience. If you are a student who wants to study abroad but does not have an exchange or travel program offered by their home college and can't spend all four years at a U.S. college or university, summer courses can provide a chance for international students to have a short-term American college experience.
The University of California—Berkeley, where I studied, and many other American colleges welcome students from all over the world to participate in their summer sessions. So if you’re a student who doesn’t have international study included in their home college curriculum, and can’t commit to a full degree in the U.S., summer school might be the answer you need for a truly unique study abroad experience.