Is Summer School worth it?

Five questions to ask yourself to see if studying abroad is right for you

There's no shortage of evidence of the benefits of studying abroad, from strengthening your language skills, to improving employability.

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A number of studies show that, if you study abroad, you’re more likely to find a job, and more likely to find it soon after graduating. It’s not just about employability, though; from making new friends from all over the globe, to being introduced to a diversity of new ideas, to the simple joy of seeing the world, here are some of the reasons that LSE summer school students chose to study abroad (and for 2021 you can also study at LSE remotely).

What should you be asking yourself if you’re thinking about applying to summer school?

There are few opportunities in life like the summer breaks you get while you’re at university. That vast expanse of time, completely yours to do with what you like – you could travel, get a temporary job to gain experience and/or a bit of spending money, or you could just relax!

There is another option, which, if you’re reading this, you’ll already be aware of – summer school; spending your break enrolled on a short academic programme at a prestigious university, maybe one outside of your home country.

There are plenty of reasons why this is a good way to spend your summer break – you’ve probably already thought of a few of them if you’ve got this far. Maybe, though, you’re wondering, is it the right choice for me? Well, your inquisitive mind would already be well suited to the summer school environment…

If this is you, here are some questions it’s worth asking yourself before submitting an application or accepting a place at summer school.

Photo: Summer School student and Instagram user @allanthistogether

Do you want to gain deep academic insight into a topic on an intensive programme?

Reputable summer school programmes are taught by the same academics who teach on the host university’s full-time degrees, who impart the same information, at the same level of depth. It is, says Elizabeth Aitken, director of the Summer School & Executive Programmes Unit at LSE, a semester’s work condensed into the space of a few weeks – followed up by externally-moderated exams. If you’re looking to gain credits, strengthen your knowledge around a particular subject area, or just satisfy your curiosity, summer school could work for you. If you’re looking for an easy ride, maybe consider your options.

Want to discover the bright lights and culture of a big city?

Summer school gives you an opportunity to experience life in glamorous new surroundings. You’ve perhaps heard the famous quote from author and thinker Samuel Johnson, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” As an Englishman in the 18th century, Johnson was perhaps somewhat biased towards London – the same could be said today of a number of global cities, all of which boast the big-name universities you may well be targeting for summer school. If you want to properly immerse yourself in the unique art, culture, nightlife, cuisine, fashion and dynamic entrepreneurial environments of one of these cities, what better way than to spend a few weeks there as a temporary local?


Best Student Cities in the World, 2019:

  1. London, UK
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. Melbourne, Australia
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Berlin, Germany

Source: QS Top Universities Best Student Cities 2019

Would you like to have a genuinely international experience?

If you choose to enrol on a summer school program at an internationally-renowned university, you’ll be studying alongside fellow students from every corner of the globe, being taught by an equally-diverse group of academics (two-thirds of LSE faculty members, for example, are from outside the UK). Tania Delavita Malik, from Indonesia, who studied a course in international relations at LSE, reflects, “I got the chance to meet people from all the continents of the world. I made friends with students from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America. I am beyond satisfied!” It’s not just about friends either – there’s no shortage of evidence of the benefits of studying abroad, from strengthening your language skills, to improving employability.

Photo: Summer School student and Instagram user @shirlz_xx

Are you independent and driven?

So, we’ve talked a little bit about objectives; let’s take a moment now to consider personal qualities. While a reputable summer school will ensure you have somewhere to stay and will organise social activities to help you to make friends and have a good time (because that’s important too!), when you’re at summer school, it’s up to you to make the most of your time. It’ll be up to you to attend classes, to make a contribution to the discussion, and to keep up with the workload. It’ll be up to you to make the most of your free time too. Think you’re ready to handle life on your own, without having your hand held at every step? Then you’re ready for summer school.

Photo: Summer School student and Instagram user @joyceopalguo

Do you want to experience life at an internationally-renowned university?

Studying on a summer school programme is a great opportunity to get a taste of competitive life at a top-tier, internationally-renowned university – hence students from all over the world apply to these programmes. Not just anyone can get in, of course, so do check the entrance criteria – particularly if applying for an advanced programme – but if you do, you’ll be in very good company (check out alumni lists to see the people you’ll be associated with too). It’s going to look good on your résumé too! “The learning exposure here was completely different from the institutions back home,” says Junofy from India, who studied an economics course at LSE. “I've had one of the best experiences of my life.”

If the answer to most or even some of these questions is yes (we’ve all got different priorities after all), then maybe, just maybe, summer school is right for you.

What's different in 2021?

It's worth noting for 2021, all LSE Summer School courses will be offered in the choice of two delivery modes.

  • Our Blended Learning option combines primarily in-person teaching with some online classes for a safe and academically rigorous experience in London.
  • We are also very pleased to present a Remote Learning option, running alongside our blended learning programme, for those students unable to attend in person. 

Summer School Dates: 

Session 1: 21 June – 9 July 2021 
Session 2: 12 – 30 July 2021 
Session 3: 2 - 20 August 2021

View Summer School courses  Find out how to apply