8 Summer Schools in Asia for 2019

summer schools in asia 2018


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 are 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 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. Applications open mid-January.


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 International Summer School

The PolyU International Summer School will take place over two sessions: June 10 – July 15 and July 8 – August 12 and optional field trips to Taiwan / Hong Kong / Xi’an / Guangzhou & Shenzhen. Students can choose to enrol in one or both sessions.

The Summer School program at PolyU is well-established and caters to international students that want to customize their study, exploration and experience of Greater China. Rather than just focusing exclusively on Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, as other programs traditionally do, PolyY allows students to learn about the entire region from its base in Hong Kong and through educational field trips to Taiwan, Mainland China, and around Hong Kong as well as a wide range of intellectually stimulating subjects of 39 total contact hours.

Follow the link to see further details about the Hong Kong PolyU 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 three programs to choose from, each lasting two weeks. Programs are made up of taught lessons and cultural visits.

Doing Business in China: This program is geared to students seeking to better understand business in China and comprises ten sessions taught over two weeks in three-hour afternoon blocks covering issues such as:

  • Digital Marketing in China
  • Understanding China’s economy
  • Starting and managing a social enterprise in China
  • Corporate Social Responsibility in China
  • Innovation in China
  • Understanding China’s culture
  • Zhejiang, Ningbo and regional variations in China

Understanding the rise of ChinaAdministered 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.

Mandarin for Work: This course has been designed to empower learners with little or no prior knowledge of Mandarin to develop sufficient language skills as well as a broad understanding of the modern Chinese workplace to add invaluable skills to their CV. Focused on practical needs and demands, this summer course also equips learners with lifelong learning skills, strong cross cultural skills and the ability to work with Chinese business partners in mutual understanding.

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 5-6 week Intensive Japanese Language and Culture Study Program running from early June.

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. This Summer School is designed for students who wish to improve their Japanese language ability and gain a deeper understanding of East Asia, especially focusing on Japan. The program will include instruction in not only the Japanese language, but also courses taught in English which will cover a variety of interests including culture, society, international relations, politics, business, and economics in the context of Japan and East Asia.

This program allows you to pick and choose courses from a variety of electives (2 or 3 courses). Depending on if you want to focus on learning the Japanese language or study Japanese and East Asian culture, society, or business in English-taught classes, choose your best course out of 16 course plans.

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


Promotion: Get $10 USD free credit to learn Chinese, Korea, Japanese and other languages with one-on-one language classes on Italki.com as an Asia Options reader.


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, data science, 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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