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Summer Programs in Europe for High School Students

For high school students, summer is a time spent doing many different things. Some students will take on a part or full time job to earn spending money, or to start saving for college. Other students may take the summer off to rest and recharge for the year ahead. Some students and their families use the downtime to take holidays, travel, make new friends and see what the world has to offer. Others may use this time to boost their academic profile by taking summer classes or even doing academic internships.

At Beyond the States we often get approached by families with students in their sophomore or junior year wondering how they might be able to get their child prepared and engaged for an eventual full-degree program in Europe.

Luckily for them, there are several excellent summer programs at some of our favorite European universities that give young learners the opportunity to discover the world and get a taste of what pursuing their higher education in Europe might be like.

These summer school programs which usually target the 16-17 year old age group are shorter in duration (two to four weeks) and give students access to courses blended with cultural activities and learning opportunities. It’s also a great way to meet other students from all walks of life all while experiencing first hand what it would be like to attend a particular college or university in a particular city.

Some of them offer a full service package including meals, accommodation, all courses and activities, while others are more customized. Some of them allow high school students to source their own accommodation and live off campus which is a good option for families with parents who wish to come along and experience the cities/towns where their kids will be staying as well.

While there are plenty of these summer programs out there we have narrowed it down to our top 4 picks for an unforgettable experience!

1. Bocconi University – Summer Study Abroad Program

About the school 

One of our favorites at BTS –  Bocconi is truly one of Europe’s most prestigious private business schools, and from our view they offer some of the most unique, multidisciplinary programs within that context. To boot, this university is one of very few schools that have “triple crown” accreditation. All of the universities in our database are fully accredited, but there are also special accreditations that business schools can seek-EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA.

While we don’t think global rankings mean much to the undergraduate experience, these three types of accreditation for business schools do, as they look at really specific aspects of the educational experience and outcomes (like employment) after graduation. Having any of the three speaks to quality, but having all three is extremely rare and prestigious (called “triple crown accreditation”). Not only do these accreditations speak to the quality of the classes offered, but it also means that companies are eager to hire graduates.

Located in stunning Milan, a city that boasts beautiful architecture. Very much a walkable city with good public transportation and lots to explore! Genoa is just 2 hours away by train, so you could get to the beach for the weekend (or even a day trip) if you wanted to. There are so many great places to discover around Milan.

About the Bocconi Summer Program

Bocconi’s summer school program is held every year in July. The dates vary every year so please make sure to check their website and socials for updates on when the program will take place.

This summer program runs for two weeks and allows students to focus on 2 subjects. There are 14 subjects to choose from across many different options. Some of the subjects are Communication and Advertising, Computer Coding, Digital Marketing, Economics, Entrepreneurship, European Union and its Economic Policies in the Post-Globalization, Finance, Game Theory, Global Law of Business and New Technologies, International Politics, Luxury and Fashion, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Strategy. 

Each week you will get to focus on one subject, with lectures taking place in the morning. You will also be assigned a team and work on a group project which you will then need to present to your classmate at the end of each week. Each week, you will visit one local company or enterprise to see how they run. 

Who is it for?

This program is geared towards students in their sophomore or junior year of high school. Admissions are competitive so students should have strong grades in order to give their application a boost.

Students applying here must expect a degree of rigor and be prepared to work hard. This program is for students who want to get new life skills and explore some of the academic tracks offered at Bocconi not only through traditional lectures, but also by group work and project based learning.

Application Process and Course dates:

The application process is thankfully quite straightforward for this program. Application is open to high school students in their third-to-last and second-to-last year in Italy or abroad. Admission will be decided on the basis of both academic achievement, language skills and suitability for the program.

To apply for the program, you will need to do so directly through the school on their online admissions portal. At the time of application you will need to complete their form, select your top 2 study topics with 2 alternates and submit your transcripts, a CV/Resume, and a motivation letter.

There are 2 rounds for applying to the program. The first one runs from January – Mid March and the second one from mid March to Mid April. Apply early for your best chance of acceptance. 

For a full Bocconi life experience, Summer School participants may choose to stay in one of the school’s university residence halls (for an extra fee), all walking distance from the campus. The campus residence has single rooms with shared bathrooms

There is no meal plan provided in the fee. However, students can access the canteens and cafeterias on campus and there are plenty of restaurants and cafés nearby offering a wide variety of food options at affordable prices. 


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2. University Of Amsterdam – Summer Program

About the school

Founded in 1632, The University of Amsterdam is a public institution that is spread across four campuses in the Netherlands. With over 30,000 students in attendance, you can expect vibrant student life at this fantastic university!

Amsterdam, as a city, is fantastic. With endless spots for beautiful photos on the canals and with old buildings, you could spend hours just getting lost in the city. The weather in the summer is very pleasant with warmer temperatures and little rain. Amsterdam is home to some excellent museums and cultural venues. I would suggest purchasing an I Amsterdam pass which gives you access to several museums and cultural activities in the city.

About University of Amsterdam’s Summer Program

Okay, the pre-university programs at this school are slightly different from the other ones on the list in that there are a number you can choose from; in fact, there are currently 5 different tracks that you can apply for. They are: Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Relations, Media, Journalism & Society, Politics and Identity or Sustainability. Each of these tracks has 2 intakes between June and July. You need to be 16 or over to participate and the two programs for high school are 2 weeks in duration.

In general, student support at this school is extremely robust and this is true even for their short term summer programs. As a student you can expect to develop study skills and become acquainted with learning methods that will give you an advantage if you continue on with education at this university. 

Who is it for?

This program is for students who already have an interest in one of the tracks offered by the school. By being able to select a specialty, you will get unique opportunity to explore the field of chosen subject in a more traditional academic environment, deciding if that area of study is something you wish to pursue or not.

Some students may even apply to 2 tracks, completing one in June and the other in July for a full month of summer school and extended stay in Amsterdam!

The summer programs at UvA are more lecture and discussion based with one project, so if this is your preferred learning style then this program is for you.

Application Process and Course dates:

These programs take place in June and July with application deadlines closing by mid February. All programs last two weeks. Each track has slightly different requirements but in general you can expect to submit an application form, CV, transcripts and a short essay relating to the area of study you have selected.

Admissions to this program for high school students can be competitive so applying as early as possible gives you the best chance for access to the program of your choice.

It is mandatory for pre-university program students to stay in the campus housing to ensure safety for the duration of your stay. Lunches are provided to all students during class days.

3. IE University – Summer School

About the school

IE University, located in Spain spans across 5 different campuses. This fantastic school is another one that boasts triple crown accreditation. IE University has been around for over 50 years and was founded by entrepreneurs who wanted to take a less traditional approach to Business education. This school was an early adopter of implementing problem-based and project-based learning as opposed to the more traditional lecture-based styles in this country – IE was a pioneer at the time!

Renowned for developing students’ proficiency in innovation and technology, this school offers excellent programs with lessons in Business, AI and IT, Architecture, Design, Law, Fashion and others.

IE’s program fees are higher than some other schools in Europe, so this is something to take into consideration when selecting your summer program in Europe.

About the IE University Summer Program

IE’s pre-college summer program for high school students aims to help participants decide on an academic path while exploring some of the areas of study that the school has to offer. This program values not only academia and professional experience, but also fostering long standing relationships with your classmates.

This two week program allows you to explore both campuses with the first week taking place in Segovia and the second week at the Madrid campus. This is such a great opportunity to experience what a multi-campus program might be like.

Expect to be busy at this summer program! On top of the excellent class selection you will have, you will also have many cultural and outdoor activities integrated into your program. Some of the classes and lessons you can expect to take would be: Sustainability, Design Thinking, Power Skills: Team-building, Personal Branding, Negotiation and Leadership, Business & Entrepreneurship Project, Tech, Marketing & Design,  Social Impact and Finance & Operations. 

Who is it for?

This is a program for highly motivated high school students that want to take their educational journey to the next level. It is great for students who want to gain independence while exploring cross-cultural relationships with their classmates. Socializing, problem solving and teamwork are an integral part of this program. Some activities you can expect to participate in involve visiting museums and kayaking tours. You can expect to make plenty of new friends here.

This program has a very busy schedule so if you are expecting to have free time, this one probably is not for you! IE’s summer school is for 16 and 17 year olds.

Application Process and Course dates:

There are 3 intakes for this summer program, taking place across June and July. Each program is 2 weeks in duration.

Once you have selected which intake you want to take part in, you will need to submit an online application form including transcripts, CV and a 2 minute long video essay. I know a video essay might sound scary, but there are some students who have uploaded theirs to YouTube – head there to take a look, and get an idea.

Application decisions are made on a first come first serve basis and are usually made within 2 weeks of application submission. Apply as soon as you can so you can start planning your summer in Spain!

The program fee includes all courses, activities, transportation to and from the activities, accommodation in the student residence and 3 meals per day.

4. Kozminski University – Summer program for International High School Students

About the school

Kozminski University has been on our radar for a while and even made it to our in-house Rankings page for Top Business Schools in Europe for International Students. Like Bocconi and IE University, this reputable business school also holds the triple crown accreditation. Beyond the States founder, Jenn Viemont, wrote a flattering blog post on this school after her visit there – check it out here.

Unlike other Polish cities and towns, Warsaw is spread out over a large area. The city has a population of 1.7 million making it the 9th most populous city in the European Union, but it also has a very low cost of living. The city bears marks of the past with landmarks such as the Palace of Culture skyscraper built during Communist rule. There are many museums, which explore the city’s complex and troubled past. However, Warsaw is also a cutting-edge city with lots of steel and glass and more skyscrapers than most cities. Getting around the city is easy via bus, tram, or metro, but it is a very walkable city with a good and easy-to-understand public transportation center. 

Poland is such a fantastic country with friendly people. There is so much to do and see and the weather is fantastic in the summer, with warm weather and very little rain. The cost of living is quite low here so this is a great option for a more budget friendly summer program for students.

About the Kozminski University Summer Program

Kozminski University’s Warsaw Summer School prepares international high school students for further studies at KU in the fields of management and business sciences.

The program includes almost 100 hours of intensive courses in marketing, finance, critical thinking, artificial intelligence, history, social sciences and business, as well as language preparation – Polish language learning, and English language courses.

Some of the specific classes offered by KU are : How Does the Stock Exchange Work?, Psychology of Money, the Latest Trends in Marketing, Creative Problem Solving in a High-tech Environment, so it’s really ideal for students who are interested in new skills in business and the knowledge of new solutions in the world of finance.

There are no classes on the weekends so students can attend optional cultural events organized by the school, otherwise they can explore the city on their own or with their family or friends.

Who is it for?

This program is geared towards international high school students aged 16-17 looking to take the first steps in understanding and exploring business and management. This is also an ideal program for those that want to incorporate language immersion and learning with the integrated polish classes in the program.

As a triple crown accredited school, students can expect a degree of rigor to this program. Attending such a great program will give you an advantage in both your academic and professional life and career.

Application Process and Course dates:

The program usually takes place from the 3rd week in July until mid August. You need to apply to the program directly from the school’s website by completing their online application form and submitting a few documents like a copy of your passport, most recent transcripts and your CV. The early bird deadline for the program takes place in May with admissions closing by June. Apply early to avoid disappointment as spaces are on a first-come first-serve basis!

Admissions are not as competitive for this program as some of the other ones on the list and the program is also less expensive.

Accommodation is not provided with this program, so high school students are encouraged to refer to UniverPL – who offer full service packages including accommodations suitable for minors attending this program.


What documents do I need to apply?

This varies by school and country but you can usually expect to submit transcripts, CV, cover letter and a copy of your valid passport

What is the application deadline?

Application deadlines vary – make sure to keep an eye on the program websites and subscribe to their newsletters!

Do I need a passport?

Yes! All international high school students travelling to Europe to take part in a summer school program will need a valid passport.

Do I need a visa?

This depends on the duration of the program, country and nationality of the participant. You will need to reach out directly to the international student office of the school that you are applying to for more information.

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