Can a three-week program at a summer school on a world-famous college campus change your life? If you ask Lia, an American student at ISSOS International, the answer would be yes.
âISSOS not only gave me amazing memories with these people that I will love forever, but it has also become a part of who I am. I am and will be forever changed for the better. She adds that meeting new people, combined with her experiences at ISSOS at Yale, “is something that really can’t be put into words.”
ISSOS offers students aged 13 to 18 a balanced and supervised summer program that immerses them in an English-speaking environment. Here, students from all over the world have the opportunity to combine learning, entertainment and cultural enrichment on an inspiring, safe and prestigious university campus – Cambridge, St Andrews or Yale – and experience new things on their own.
Gady from Lebanon discovered he could express himself in a way he never thought he could before. At ISSOS, he mingled with people from different cultures, learned from the best teachers and mentors, and made lifelong friends.
âISSOS is more than just a summer camp I attended, it’s a place I can call home. I really believe that anyone can thrive there, âadds Gady.
What makes the ISSOS program so special for Lia, Gady and the more than 5,000 students who have joined it since its inception in 2006?
Jen Munro, Founder and CEO of ISSOS, says: âOur summer program has been specially designed to meet the challenges of today so that our students can look forward to tomorrow with confidence. We strive to give our students both an academic and a social edge.
A place where global friendships are made
Part of ISSOS’s appeal to students is its international family atmosphere. Students are divided into groups of no more than 15 with their own group advisor and share a room with a person of the same gender and age, but of different mother tongue and nationality. This ensures that ISSOS participants can mingle and befriend other people from new places. In this way, barriers between languages ââand cultures can be broken down to forge global but lasting friendships.
Fernanda from Mexico – who enjoyed her first ISSOS summer so much that she came back for another summer – agrees wholeheartedly: âI made friends who I know will last a lifetime and all that. would not have been possible without ISSOS.
A multitude of social and cultural activities
ISSOS International staff ensure that all students are well looked after by providing support throughout the program. Source: ISSOS International
While the group assigned to students will serve as their primary form of support, they will have the opportunity to mingle with others at ISSOS through clans, evening activities and classes.
ISSOS is proud of its Scottish roots. ISSOS students will join one of their four student clans. All clans compete against each other in friendly competitions and team games to earn points towards winning the ISSOS Clan Cup.
The Highland Games mark the end of Clan Competitions and the winning Clan will win the ISSOS Clan Cup. On the last night, a bagpiper plays in the Haggis for dinner; then students can do traditional Scottish country dancing and indulge in the disco.
Besides the clans, ISSOS students participate in a wide range of exciting activities, including 4 p.m. and Sunday workshops, as well as evening programs. ISSOS understands that students work incredibly hard during the week, so the 16 hours are not mandatory.
Despite this, the 16 hours are designed to meet the interests and demands of students – from sports and games to creativity – which is why ISSOS believes all students will appreciate this aspect. Past activities have included circus skills, cell phone photography, parkour, and rowing on the River Cam.
Sunday Workshops – ISSOS’s optional three-hour workshops – allow students to indulge in a new hobby such as spray painting, baking, acting and even writing songs. Students are free to use the rest of their Sunday for their free time.
Finally, the evening programs – where clans collect points to win the Clan Cup – are a time of laughter and activity. They range from the Advisor’s Fashion Show, Dodge Ball Variety Show, and even mini Olympics.
The educational philosophy of ISSOS
Apart from the exceptional social and cultural activities, what sets ISSOS apart from other summer schools is its belief in an education of the heart and the mind.
Not only does ISSOS welcome non-native English speakers, native speakers can also register, and there is no academic acceptance criteria. This means that all students can experience this program regardless of their grades.
Students can also choose one academic and one elective to study throughout the program – taught by professional and experienced teachers.
All academic classes meet for three hours each weekday morning while their academic offerings include debate, study skills, and English language, to name a few. Each campus has its own academics, which can include business and entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and journalism.
Students combine their choice of academic class with an elective course – taken four weekday afternoons – where they can learn about tennis, film, outdoor leadership, art, golf, theater and photography.
Collectively, ISSOS’s beautiful campuses, interesting activities and incredible learning opportunities – while being part of an international family – have made it an unforgettable experience for many students around the world.
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