Fuel Your Summer

Summerfuel

About

It's Your Future. Make Summer Count.

For over 30 years, Summerfuel has been offering innovative and engaging summer opportunities in the US and Europe. Students who join our challenging pre-college programs, or our authentic study abroad and language programs, develop essential skills that put them ahead of the game. All of our programs are designed to broaden academic and personal horizons, and we work thoughtfully to create opportunities for a truly diverse student population. We have been offering the best, most comprehensive student adventures since 1984, and we still know what students want from their summers today.

Founded
1984
Headquarters

19 West 21st Street
Suite 702
New York, NY 10010
United States

Reviews

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William
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed my three weeks in Barcelona. I had been to Spain before but this program really allowed me to improve my Spanish and get to know Barcelona. The program was a good balance between classes and plenty of options to explore the city with the group and with friends. The classes take place at a university and we were treated like special guests and had access to the facilities. The classes were fun and helped me to be more confident about speaking Spanish and I noticed a big improvement bu the time I left. The other students came from different places which was good as not many people knew each other and it was easy to make friends. The residence was very nice and we all got double rooms with air conditioning and a big cinema and games room. My favorite part was that we got to see every part of Barcelona from museums to different areas and the beach. I miss it and will definitely go back.

What would you improve about this program?
Barcelona is a late night city so sometimes I felt the curfew was a little early. They extended the curfew on weekends though which was good.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So much fun!! My Spanish definitely improved and I had an amazing time doing it. Filled with surfing, cooking, swimming and more there was never a dull moment. My family was welcoming and always made me feel at home. You were left to do what you wanted to do and there was always your choice involved with decisions. There was freedom so you could explore the town on your own with your friends but there was guidance when needed. The classes are fun and enjoyable. I Highly recommend this program!!!!!

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Alejandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had always dreamed of studying abroad, so I began researching opportunities for summer travel and stumbled upon Summerfuel. They had everything I could ever have wanted- from countless locations, incredible room and board, and activities and courses that I fell in love with before I even took them. I had the absolute time of my life and wish I was back in Oxford every day. I decided to pursue a place at a University overseas because I enjoyed my time so much! I hope one day I'll be able to return to the city of dreaming spires.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I have never been one for heights or climbing precarious flights of stairs. However, I found myself in that very situation. One weekend, we traveled into London for sightseeing and adventure. My group started off at Saint Paul's Cathedral. Inside, there was the opportunity to climb some 500 plus stairs to reach the top of the cathedral. I stumbled a few times and my calves were on fire, but I have never seen such an incredible sight, nor would I have had that opportunity without Summerfuel
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As a rising junior from Texas, spending my 2019 summer in Oxford was a great international experience. The Summerfuel staff was organized and dependable from New York to London and back. I cannot say enough about all the RA’s and Senior Staff. Every single one of them was available, super fun, intelligent and responsible. During a fire drill in the middle of the night, as I was soundly dreaming, I was the last one up. But my RA was aware I had not emerged and was waiting for me. The program was also a completely cultural experience from afternoon tea to centuries old tours of castles to modern London. We all got to know each other so well with scavenger hunts around Oxford to playing soccer and cricket on the grounds of Lady Margaret Hall. I highly recommend the Oxford Art and Architecture course with John Rolfe, great professor. Each day we would venture into town and learn about and draw a portion of historical buildings. I highly recommend the experience for personal growth and fun over the pond.

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Anna
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'll start by saying I'm not your typical reviewer. I was a part of Summerfuel not as a student, but as part of the staff. What a summer! I'll start by saying that I worked with some of the best co-workers I've ever had. We really meshed and worked well together. People from all over the country were chosen as RAs from Massachusetts to California. It was an awesome combination of students from around the world and staff from around the country. Even though the program was for the students, I was able to learn a lot too, just by being around them.

We took trips to local college, and traditional tourist destinations such as Fenway Park and Quincy Market. Plenty of time for the kids to shop, eat and generally explore. Staff also got the opportunity to participate in a lot of local activities and visit Boston's best hang outs as well. The downside is the program is pretty expensive, especially when you factor in international air fare. This means that there wasn't much socio-economic diversity among the students and some of them were a it spoiled and difficult to deal with. At the end of the day though, they were good kids! While the weekend excursions were generally pretty well planned, management definitely could have been better organized and we were all overworked. Sometimes I had to sneak off just to get a bit of rest and a break from running around and I know my co-workers had to do the same. Still, a great opportunity to explore the city.

What would you improve about this program?
Give staff time to catch their breath, plan trips in detail further in advance.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Christopher Yates

Christopher lives in Tucson, Arizona. He is 17 years old and a junior in high school. He has always considered himself an artistic person, as he loves playing the guitar/ukulele, and has developed a passion for filmmaking during his high school career. As such, he plans on majoring in film during college. He plays the bass on his church's worship team every Sunday, and also recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Everyday at Lady Margaret Hall, we would wake up to a very British breakfast in the dining hall (which has a striking resemblance to the Great Hall in Harry Potter), attending our morning classes immediately afterwards. For my morning class, I chose Marketing and Advertising, in which I learned about the various advertising strategies used by corporations, took a couple trips into town to observe those strategies in action, and even got to taste test products to see if we could actually notice the difference, an activity I particularly enjoyed.

Right after morning classes was my favorite part of the day: lunch. The meal itself could hardly be considered my favorite part of this four hour period, however. What I loved most was exploring Oxford in all its beauty and complexity; finding a new restaurant everyday was always a highlight for me and my friends. There’s many exotic and unique tastes to try all across the city, so it’s a great opportunity to really get familiarized with the layout of everything as well.

Once we returned to Lady Margaret Hall, we attended our afternoon classes. I took British Invasion, a class on the history of British music over the past half decade or so and also one of my favorite parts of the trip. I learned a lot and Richard is a fun and engaging teacher, so I highly recommend the course!

After that, the evenings were ours; we could stick around LMH and take part in one of the numerous activities offered by the program’s staff, or head back into town. We almost always ended up staying behind though, the activities were that good! At around 11 PM, it was off to bed to get ready to do it all again the next day.

Ten years from now, what's the one thing you think you'll remember from the trip?

Without a doubt, the thing that resounded with me most was all the friendships I made. It’s been six months since the program ended, and I still speak to most everyone every day.

What I felt was truly great about the program was that everyone was in the same boat as me; we all started out as strangers, taking a leap of faith and travelling to another country. But very soon, the divisions between us disappeared and we were all acting like lifelong friends. I know that’s something I’ll never forget, and the people I met are likely to continue to impact my life for the next ten years, maybe even beyond.

Has your worldview changed as a result of your trip?

Before travelling to Oxford, my perspective was limited to what I knew within the U.S. Though I was obviously aware of other countries around the globe, it never truly hit me that there was much more to the world until I went out and experienced it for myself. Seeing the London Eye, Tower of London, Big Ben, (I’m a big fan of the Oxford comma now) and Stonehenge in pictures is one thing, but seeing them in person, wow.

Ultimately, travelling to England opened my eyes to how much there is to do and see in this world, and how few of those things I’ve managed to encounter thus far in my life. It certainly broadened my horizons, and I will be travelling internationally again the first chance I get.

What was the most interesting cultural difference you encountered?

Accents! There’s loads of them, and they’re great. Obviously, British accents are in abundance, but England is a huge melting pot; there’s people of all different nationalities in Oxford, each with their own way of speaking and doing things. I particularly enjoyed the Irish accent of our RA, Jake, who I would often have to ask to repeat himself over and over.

Other than that, some noticeable cultural differences were, of course, the Briton’s affinity for tea, as well as their overall cleanliness. London (as well as Oxford), opposed to other large cities I’ve been to, was fairly clean, and this made submerging myself in the culture that much more enjoyable.

Where would you most like to travel to next?

Hmm.. that’s a tough one. I’d certainly like to travel back to England to see some of the things I missed out on this time around, but other than that, Ireland, Italy, and Russia are high on my list.

As one of England’s closest neighbors, Ireland captures my interest almost equally, and I would love to see how the cultures differ between the two nations. As for Russia and Italy, we had many attendees from the two countries at Summerfuel, and seeing their home countries (and them too of course) would really be great!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

What position do you hold at Summerfuel? What has been your career path so far?

I am the Program Director at Summerfuel Nice. I joined Summerfuel in 2008 after spending a year living in France because I wanted to share my experiences, and my love of French language and culture, with students.

As a former high school French teacher, I believe that cultural immersion is one of the best ways to learn any language, a concept central to Summerfuel's mission.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Nice is a magical place, and I really enjoy seeing how enthusiastic the students become when they are experiencing everything Nice has to offer.

Being able to share my cultural knowledge with students, and showing them that learning French is more than just looking at a textbook, are great perks as well.

What makes Summerfuel's programs in Nice special?

Since students are living in one location for a month, they really get a chance to experience what life in that city is like, an experience that they cannot get by doing any typical teen tour program. Summerfuel strives to give students the full French experience and offers so much more than the amazing language classes taught by native speakers.

From looking at authentic artwork at the Matisse Museum to parasailing high over the Mediterranean Sea, Summerfuel gives students the opportunity to study and live like a French student.

Do you have any tips/advice for high school students considering a summer experience in Nice?

The best advice I can give is to really take advantage of the opportunity and make the most out of each experience. Try to use French every chance you get: start conversations with the lunch staff, mix in some French when you are with other Summerfuel students, make conversation and barter with a local vendor at the Cours Saleya market. Most importantly, participate in as many activities as you can.