summer schools in asia 2017


Summer school is probably not on top of most young people’s mind when they think of summer, but trust us, summer school in Asia is something you’ve got to do!

Imagine yourself in July next year knocking back an Asahi or Korean Soju with classmates, feasting on amazing local food, or exploring the local surroundings on weekends in shorts and t-shirt. If you’re from the southern hemisphere, then there’s even more reason to avoid winter and join a summer program in Asia! On top of that, you can complete course credit for your degree back home or take a well-earned break from work to learn more about Asia and improve your language skills.

When choosing a program in a particular country or city of interest, it’s always best to shop around and see which program offers the most in regards to affordability, cultural trips, opportunities, and curriculum. For example, I chose the Korea University International Summer Program in 2013 as it offered six weeks of coursework for a similar price as other top universities in Seoul offering only a four-week program.

Accommodating a summer school into the study calendar of your home university (especially those from Australia) can sometimes be challenging, so do make sure to double check the start and end dates! Not all home universities will be able to transfer credit and this may depend on existing university partnership arrangements so best check with your Exchange Office Abroad first. They will also be able to help advise you on summer schools as well as available university or external funding grants.

There is a LOT of summer school programs out there and almost all the top universities in Asia offer a specialised program for foreigners. Asia Options has put together a quick list with everything from intensive Chinese, to cheerleading classes, a visit to Kazakhstan, and geospatial engineering. But remember there’s plenty more programs out there to choose from!


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Korea University International Summer Program

The Korea University Summer Program offers a semester’s workload condensed into six weeks and is open to both domestic and international students. Academic credit earned through the program is recognised by a number of overseas universities. ISC is running two programs from June to August (6-week program) and June to July (4-week program).

The program includes more than 120 courses offering a wide range of subjects including International Business, Economics, Humanities, Sociology, Fine Art, International Relations, Science and Korean Studies. Students therefore have the choice of subjects as diverse as Business Calculus, to an Introduction to the U.S Legal System and of course Korean K-Pop Studies. The program also attracts an international faculty from prestigious universities in the US, Europe, and Asia.

The academic program is complemented by a range of engaging excursions and performances, including a vista to Lotto World, a cheer leading class, a company visit and a K-Pop performance. I was also really impressed by the organised structure of the program and enthusiasm of the volunteers from the Korea Buddy Program. The accommodation – while not cheap (approx. AUD $1,000 for a single dorm)- was terrific and included free access to a gym, study rooms, and spacious lounge areas. The atmosphere of living on campus was great and there’s no shortage of great places to eat and drink nearby.

Follow the link to see further details about the Korea University Summer Program.


Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul

Ewha International Co-ed Summer College (Ewha ISC) welcomes undergraduate and graduate students to discover Korea through concentrated academic studies and many intercultural experiences. To accommodate diverse student needs, the 2015 Ewha ISC program runs two separate sessions: Session I (late June – late July) and Session II (early August – mid-August). Exact dates currently not available on the Ewha website.

All classes are conducted in English. Students will have the opportunity to participate in two-day cultural excursion trips, take classes with students from around the world and earn course credit from a wide array of courses offered. If students are interested, on-campus housing is available on a first come first serve basis. University credit transfers are available.

Follow the link to see further details about the Ewha Summer Program.


Think you can't try a session of cheerleading at summer school? Think again! This is a common cultural feature of many Korean summer programs .
Think you can’t try a session of cheer-leading at summer school? Think again! This is a common cultural feature of many Korean summer programs.


FASStrack Asia: the Summer School

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at The National University of Singapore will be offering FASStrack Asia: the Summer School from June to July.

Although the title sounds like a musical, FASStrack offers a spotlight on the Asia region. Taught over a 5-week summer period the program includes classes and field trips with academic experts. They offer courses in different disciplines such as Sociology, Political Science, Food Science, Cultural studies as well as in Economics with special emphasis on various Asian regions. There are also Asian language classes on offer. Some of these courses feature an 8 to 10 days field trip to countries such as China, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, as well as local field trips in Singapore. In addition, there will be international students from universities all over the world attending the summer school. Singapore with its multi-cultural society is also ideally positioned as a transnational hub within Asia and a great place to study for the summer.

Follow the link to see further details about the FASStrack Asia Summer School.


Singapore Management University Global Summer Program: Business, Innovation & Society in Asia

The Singapore Management University Global Summer Program will be holding its third Global Summer Program in July. Upon completing the four weeks of study, students have the option of embarking on a one-week overseas Learning Journey to another Asian city.

Students must take two courses from a list of ten available courses. Courses include Asia Pacific Business, The Business of ‘Fun’; Managing in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) context, among others.

Contact hours: 36 hours per course (3 hours per class; 3 classes/week for 4 weeks)

Follow the link to see further details about the SMU Global Summer Program.



The Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University Summer Program

IUP is a US sponsored and advanced Chinese language program and – believe us – this program is no summer holiday! The program is renown for its intense workload and fast pace of learning. IUP students will generally advise that 3-4 hours of daily class preparation and homework is necessary to keep up with the intense workload.

A unique feature of IUP is that students are provided with highly individualised instruction. The teacher to student ratio is 1:3 and course assignments include at least one daily private tutorial and several small group classes. Each student is given individual attention to language skill areas that need improvement and their progress is closely monitored over their course of study.

The program runs for 8 weeks from June to August and while it’s not cheap, it is the most intense Chinese language program out there and does produce results!

Follow the link to see further details about the IUP Summer Program.


Hong Kong PolyU Silk Road International Summer School

The PolyU Silk Road International Summer School 2016 will take place over two sessions: June – July and July – August and optional field trips to Taiwan / Hong Kong / Xi’an.

The ancient Silk Road has renewed significance following China’s new development strategy surrounding the Belt & Roads Initiative (formally known as One Road One Belt). The Belt and Road Initiative focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries in Eurasia. The strategy underlines China’s push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need to export China’s production capacity in areas of overproduction such as steel manufacturing.

Now’s a great time to learn more about the new Silk Road and this summer program offers a unique curriculum to inspires students to better understand Central Asia, China, and the Belt & Roads Initiative. The program itself is taught in English and is therefore ideal for students with little exposure to China. Students will have the opportunity to select two subjects over the three week period.

Follow the link to see further details about the Silk Road International Summer School.


Best Friend Korean Language School

Having trouble aligning the dates of a summer program with your actual availability? Then maybe you might want to look at creating your own summer program in South Korea. Best Friend Korean Language School is a private language academy based in Seoul.

From 1-week programs, flexible starting dates and tailored one-on-one classes, Best Friend has plenty of options to create your own summer course. Tuition fees are calculated per week of study and naturally come down in price the longer you study.

The school also lives up to its name with its friendly staff but the main reason we recommend it is the lifestyle. From the school’s location, you have everything you need right around you, including Meetups (language exchanges, salsa dancing etc), shopping, bars, Korean BBQ, coffee shops, gyms, karaoke bars, hangout spots and easy access to Sinchon Metro Subway Station, Hongdae and Incheon Airport. The school can then help take care of finding you a language partner, nearby accommodation, cultural activities and even an internship.

UNNC International Summer School

The University of Nottingham in Ningbo (China) runs an annual Summer Program and will be held from early to mid-July. Exact dates currently not available on the university website.

There are two programs to choose from, each lasting two weeks. Both programs are made up of taught lessons and cultural visits.

Advances in Geospatial Engineering and Building Information Modeling:  This program is jointly organised by The University of Nottingham and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Young Surveyors Network. The purpose of the summer school in Geospatial Engineering and Building Information Modelling is both the educational and cultural development of young geospatial engineers and professionals. It will offer a unique opportunity for young surveyors to get to know the newest technologies and applications in the field of Geospatial Engineering and Building Information Modelling (BIM). The cultural development would be ensured through Mandarin language courses and cultural activities.

Understanding the rise of China: Administered by the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS), UNNC, and held on UNNC campus, this program targets students of non-Chinese studies, including domestic students, who have interests in understanding the rise of China and its implications. SCCS has run the Summer School for the last three years and it has been well received.

Follow the link to see further details about the University of Nottingham Ningbo Summer Program

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Credit: David Min

Intensive Japanese Language & Culture Study Program – Kwansei Gakuin University

The Kwansei Gakuin University’s Centre for Japanese Language Education offers a three week Intensive Japanese Language and Culture Study Program. The program will be running from July – August.

This course is aimed mainly at students with very little Japanese language education background, who will learn the basic skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking over the period of the course. The program is not limited to classroom learning, and participants will enjoy exchange events with Japanese students and use their Japanese skills in real life situations such as going shopping on the streets of Japan. Furthermore, in order to deepen their understanding of Japan, students will also enjoy classes on Japanese food and traditional culture, as well as a field trip to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.

Follow the link to see further details about the Kwansei Gakuin Summer Program.


To find out about more opportunities in Asia check out our getting started guides for tips on study, internships, scholarships, accommodation: China | Indonesia | India |  Japan | Korea | Taiwan


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Olly Theobald

Director at Asia Options.
Olly works in Hangzhou China and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, e-commerce, Asia education, tech and foreign languages. Olly is a graduate from RMIT University and the Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies. Olly speaks Mandarin and Korean.

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