In so many ways, a high school travel experience can be life-altering for students. Summer programs in England are a prime example, where courses challenge a student’s home curriculum while, at the same time, enhancing their perspective of the world.
From Shakespeare theatre camps to university-level classes, the options here are diverse and plentiful. Spending some time distanced from regular high school life, students will be able to refine their strengths and set clear goals for the future.
Speaking of the future, a high school summer program in England makes any resume more distinctive, whether it’s one that’s attached to a college application or a cover letter for a job. One thing’s for certain, though -- once you catch the travel bug, it’s pretty hard to shake it.
Where to Go
England’s capital is one of the top summer destinations for high schoolers. From classic landmarks, like Big Ben, to quirky activities, like perusing Brick Lane street art, London’s diverse features attract all types of visitors. High school students can gain university credits at a London institution, hone their expressive abilities at an arts-centric camp, or enroll in a cultural immersion program.
Summers in Oxford will prepare high school students for the next phase of their life. Though you may not be at the town’s namesake institution, professors or graduates of Oxford University might instruct in your program. Ranging from one week to all summer, organizations offer high schoolers the chance to build skills geared towards a future major, sometimes while also earning college credit.
Not to be overshadowed by Oxford’s scholastic opportunities, Cambridge is another popular English destination for a high school overseas experience. With university credit and a rigorous academic curriculum, these programs call to students of all disciplines. When you’re not perfecting your college-level studying abilities, you can enjoy a quieter countryside experience.
Planning Your Trip
For a seamless summer overseas experience, high school students should fold the following into their preparation activities.
How to Choose a High School Travel Program in England
From college credit to cross-cultural experiences, there are plenty of opportunities for high school students to seize during a summer in England. Overseas programs always leave room to explore your destination, and as such, it’s vital to select one with interesting material built into the agenda. The right program can both illuminate your post-high school goals and also set you on a path to achieve them.
Travel Tips in England
Even if prior colonization (or colonisation, as the Brits spell it) has left remnants of English culture in your home nation, you can still get culture shock when visiting. Don’t expect to effortlessly blend in -- adjusting takes time. Eventually, you’ll say “uni” instead of “university” without sounding like such a Yankee, but don’t be afraid to confide in your peers or instructors if it’s a struggle to get there.
In terms of what to bring, summer adventures obviously demand summer attire. Given England’s notoriously overcast climate, a rain jacket will also be handy, no matter the season. If you’ve got an unlocked phone, throw that in your bag too -- you can get a SIM card in-store at Vodafone, O2, or another cell (ahem, mobile) company.
Since summer programs tend to run less than three months in length, most high school students should be able to enter England sans visa and as a tourist. In case of the rare instance that your program extends past the 90-day mark, you will need to apply for a student visa. The process requires a passport and supporting materials, all of which should be outlined by your institution.
Health & Safety
For most trips to England, travelers won’t need extra shots. A few very specific activities might require a rogue immunization -- like a rabies shot if your program has you working with animals -- but that’s something that can easily be sorted with a doctor before you set out.
Like health considerations, safety concerns for travelers are light in England. Of course, stay street smart in urban areas like London, where pickpockets and other petty lawbreakers might take advantage of inattentive visitors. Overall, common sense should be enough to keep you healthy and secure during your time in England.
Costs & Funding
When you pitch this to your parents, there’s a question that will no doubt come up: how much is this going to cost? Below you’ll find some answers and funding ideas to help sell the experience.
Typical Program Cost
The price of a summer program in England is mostly hinged on how many weeks you’ll be spending there. One to three-week programs can run up to $5,000 in fees, while a whole summer might cost $10,000. You’ll also need to set aside extra finances for food, souvenirs, and activities, though some meals and group tours might be covered under the program fees.
Funding a summer program in England isn’t as impossible as it may seem, even for high schoolers. The following ideas should help you get started:
- Job: Telling an interviewer that you’re working towards a summer abroad in England -- an experience that will likely shape your entire future -- is a great way to land a job with very little professional experience.
- Sell Candy: If a number of your high school peers are participating in summer overseas programs, then companies like Gertrude Hawk might be able to set your group up with some product in exchange for a cut of the earnings. You’re likely to sell an entire box at marching band rehearsal alone.
- Host a Fundraising Event: Car wash, concert, you name it! Don’t underestimate the power of community -- you’ll be amazed by the support you receive when you give something too.
For high schoolers with their sights set on England, a few summer program scholarships include:
- Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE): If you’re venturing to England through CIEE, don’t miss out on the chance to apply to one of their Global Navigator Scholarships. Based on merit or financial need, these scholarships award high school students partial or full funding for summer abroad programs.
- Oxbridge Academic Programs: Oxbridge is one of the main providers for high school summer programs in England. Most students can apply to scholarships, though seniors are unfortunately disqualified.
- Other Program Scholarships: In case you haven’t noticed, your program provider is going to be the best resource for finding scholarships. CIEE and Oxbridge are just two examples -- be sure to check in with yours for opportunities available to high schoolers.