Frequently asked questions
Why join the International Summer School?
One of the biggest achievements for many students across the International Summer School is the amount and quality of relationships they have built during the programme. This includes both classmates and academic contacts that will help them in the future for anything from future study opportunities to new places and friends to visit on holiday!
The UK is consistently considered as one of the top UK study destinations both abroad and at home. Take this chance to explore your subject from a different perspective or study something completely new and earn credits towards your own degree programme with our accredited courses. Join us and learn from students around the world to gain new perspectives in the field and also our incredible academic colleagues who inspire the room around them!
Take the opportunity to spend a week in London with all accommodation paid and people around you to help you explore, with organised activities, optional activities and free time. Once outside of London, you have the chance to explore parts of the UK that you may not have realised are worth the effort, particularly the South West of the UK, one of the most beautiful regions of our country. Not only explore with us, but also use your free time to explore both local areas and wider afield with new friends from all over the world.
Whether you have even considered going onto Postgraduate study or are already in the middle of it, take advantage of the Alumni status of the International Summer School students to help you in the future after you've returned home. This includes both further study opportunities with scholarships, to careers guidance and networks all over the world.
While you are with us on the International Summer School, take the chance to push your own boundaries in different ways while secure in the knowledge that you have the full support of the International Summer School Team and the wider university to help you push yourself, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Arrivals and travelling
Don’t worry if you are unable to make the very first day of the programme, we will get you caught up. The London Programme is non-credit bearing so this will not impact the academic content of your course. However, the fee remains the same whether you attend London or not.
We would suggest that any late arrivals are able to make it to us by the beginning of the second day of the academic programme. For the International Summer School 2024, the last day of arrival would be Tuesday 9 July 2024 ready to start lectures on Wednesday 10 July 2024 . Arriving before this point will mean that you are able to catch up on the introductory day and the first full day of lectures. As this is a short, intensive programme, arriving any later that would mean that you may struggle to catch up.
If you are unable to travel back to your home for any reason after the programme or your flight is cancelled, we will be able to help you to make suitable arrangements but we are unable to provide you with accommodation.
Many of our students use the opportunity to go travelling within Europe after the programme has ended. In order to do this, you need to be sure that your visa, if you need one, would be valid for each country you wish to visit. You can do this by checking visa rules for each country on your own government information.
While we can help you to look at places and talk about our own experiences of travelling in the UK and Europe, we are unable to help with any visa questions or the booking of transport or accommodation.
As a student coming to study a short programme with the International Summer School, unless you have a British or Irish passport, you will need to come to the UK on a Visitor visa or with Visitor immigration permission.
The need to apply for a Visitor visa in advance will depend on whether your nationality is on the UK 'visa national' list.
Visa Nationals: If your nationality is on the visa national list, you will need to apply for and receive your Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. You will need to use your University of Exeter Visitor visa letter to support your Visitor visa application.
Non-Visa Nationals: If your nationality is not on the visa national list you are considered a ‘non-visa national’ and you will not need to apply for a Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. You can instead enter as a Visitor on arrival to the UK. This will be automatically granted if you enter the UK via an eGate at a UK port or are permitted to enter by a UK Border Force Officer.
All students should carry a paper copy of their University of Exeter Visitor visa letter with them to present if required at the border. This will be issued by the Summer School team once you have accepted your offer of a place.
Please refer to more detailed information found on the International Student Support website. If you have any questions about visas and immigration please don’t hesitate to contact our visa experts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who have not travelled for study or have never visited Europe before may be nervous about the entire visa and passport situation in the airport upon arrival.
If you are arriving within our transfer window on arrivals day, there will be a member of staff at Heathrow Airport who is available to help should immigration authorities have any questions. There is a phone number of this member of staff on the bottom of the visa support letter with permission for the immigration authorities to call it in case of any uncertainties.
For this reason, we ask that you let us know if you are intending to arrive outside of the transfer window or on a different day completely. We can then ensure that the number provided is accurate for immigration authorities to call if there are any questions.
If you need to apply for a visa in advance, the earliest you can apply is three months prior to your arrival in the UK and we would always suggest you apply at the earliest opportunity. Please triple check all information prior to submitting the application. We are unable to provide refunds based on denial/late arrival of a visa.
We will send out University of Exeter Visitor visa letters as part of the confirmation process to ensure that everyone has the document and the opportunity to check names and dates prior to the three month period.
We would also always recommend purchasing travel insurance when you book your transport so that you are covered if you are unable to travel due to a visa problem.
You should book transport as soon as you feel confident in doing so. The earlier you book, the cheaper it is but this should also be weighed against the risks of you being unable to attend the programme for any reason or the programme being cancelled. With this in mind, we would always recommend that you purchase travel insurance when you make your booking so that you are covered if you are unable to travel for any reason or if we have to cancel the programme.
We do not provide refunds or contributions to cost of travel already purchased if the programme changes dates by a day earlier or later either side, nor do we provide contributions to cost of travel if we have to withdraw an academic programme from our offering and you choose not to take up another academic programme.
Once you are given access to the 'Getting Ready' course, you will find a packing checklist of what to bring. This will detail all the items that are a necessity but also common items you may want to bring but are already provided.
We ask that you remember you are responsible for the movement of your luggage at all times so please make sure your luggage is within your ability to lift and transport and that you don't bring anything very valuable that is not necessary.
Yes, this is a very good idea as we are unable to cover any costs from transport caused by any changes to the programme nor provide a refund if your visa is denied for any reason.
Yes, we would strongly recommend some form of health insurance, whether that is via your home place of study or within your travel insurance. We will ask you to confirm your insurance policy number and company with us when you complete your Emergency Contacts and Welfare form so we can ensure that any emergencies are immediately covered by your health insurance and you have no need to worry. Medical costs are not covered by the International Summer School and can be very expensive.
We ask for a copy of the personal details page of your passport/identity card for two reasons.
- It allows us to see which nationality of passport you are using. This helps us to decide whether you need to receive a Visa Support Letter
- It is our way ensuring we have got the right details for you, including your full name and date of birth for our registration processes and also that your identity picture you will be asked to supply is actually the same person we have with your student number. Naturally, your passport picture may look different due to a younger age or different hairstyle but we will be able to see it is essentially the same person.
No, as long as you let us know that you are intending to apply for a new passport/identity card, we have no problem with using an expired document as proof of identity though we do ask that you send us through a scanned copy of the personal details page of your new document when you receive it.
Finances, payments and cancellations
Yes, this is absolutely no problem. We can either set you up with a payment plan of dates or simply leave it to you to pay as and when you are able to.
You will need to make your deposit payment within two weeks of receiving your offer of a place on the programme in order to secure that place and then you will need to ensure that you have paid your full balance by the payment deadline. In between those periods, you are free to make payments as and when you choose.
We ask that you pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. We do sometimes get people who say yes and then provide no further communication. This would then mean that the place they have taken could have gone to someone who intended to join the programme.
Another reason why we ask for a deposit payment is that we have fixed costs per student that must be paid well in advance of the programme starting including hotel accommodation. That is how we decide upon the date for the deposit becoming non-refundable and how much of the programme fee is covered by the deposit.
Deposit deadlines and terms and conditions for our 2024 Summer Programme are published on our Terms and Conditions (create hyperlink). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com
While we are unable at the moment to provide any more funding than what is available on our scholarships area of the International Summer School website, we would encourage you to look at other funding options from external organisations. These vary from country to country and you would need to do the research yourself. A good place to start is usually the British Council website of your country. Other students have looked at different means of funding their places including crowdfunding or seeking sponsorship from a company.
We can guarantee that any scholarship or discount you may receive from the University of Exeter to attend the International Summer School will not be affected by any additional funding you obtain from outside of our university.
Partial refunds on the programme are still available up to 3 days after the start of the programme. For full information on how to cancel and get a refund, please see our Terms and Conditions.
If we have to cancel an academic course for any reason, we would offer you another place on an alternative course or provide you with a full refund.
There are only two situations where we would cancel a course within the International Summer School. This would include either the numbers signed onto the course resulting in a negative student experience or the unavailability for any reason of a key member of the delivery of the course.
We don’t provide catering on the programme outside of what is specified in our timetable. In order to ensure you have enough money, it might help to think through what you would normally buy during a week for food shopping and add some extra money for additional extras like socialising.
It is cheaper to get food delivered from one of the many supermarkets around the city and would suggest you look at a website of either Morrisons or Asda to see how much your normal shopping would cost in the UK.
We also recommend that students in shared kitchens shop and cook together. It helps to form friendships and enjoy your time on the programme but also it makes shopping considerably cheaper if you are sharing the main ingredients.
Accommodation in Exeter and London
No, you do not have to share a room if you do not wish to but a private room will be at an additional cost. This will be confirmed to you should you request to not share a room in London.
Yes, it’s not a problem to pick with whom you would like to share a room. Please let us know as early as possible and we will also need confirmation from the other person as well. Please do remember that part of the benefits and opportunities provided by joining a programme like the International Summer School is the chance to meet people and make good connections with others from all over the world.
We allocate rooms based on gender and nationality to ensure you get a chance to meet someone from a different country who is likely to be as eager to meet someone as you from the start.
Many great friendships are formed on that first day in London with people who share the hotel rooms. If you have a very specific request with regards to room sharing, please do let us know when you confirm your place on the programme.
The entire student cohort is split into groups of up to 15 in London with a Student Ambassador acting as group leader. This means that you have one point of contact and a great way to make friends, and we have one point of contact for each group of 15, making communication far easier.
These groups are allocated according to gender, nationality and course. This means we will try to have an even split of gender across the groups, a variety of nationalities within each group and a mixture of different courses within the group. It’s very easy to get to know people on your course once you arrive in Exeter and so we try to keep the courses mixed in London to help you interact more with more people over the whole programme.
You can request to be with your friend or within a particular group of people but please remember that one of the key benefits to the International Summer School programme is the opportunity to meet and learn from people from all over the world. We would strongly recommend you try to engage with different people rather than stay within your pre-existing friendships groups.
If you do decide you would like to be within the same group as your friends, please let us know as soon as possible after confirming your place.
Breakfast is provided in London and on the first day in Exeter.
From that point on, there are a variety of ways you can approach the idea of self-catering, with a lot of fun to be had at the same time.
We would strongly recommend approaching the cooking and food situation as a flat, which would mean shopping and cooking together. The price of a weekly shop is far reduced if you are buying one set of basic ingredients for a whole group rather than 6 cartons of milk for instance. Shopping can be bought in the closest mini supermarket, on campus, in the city in larger supermarkets or easily delivered to your door from one of the larger supermarket companies after ordering online.
For some people, sharing a kitchen may be a new idea but we will help everyone to adjust and it also means that communication and engagement between flatmates is necessary for the entire programme.
One of the more fun benefits of cooking together is that your flat will have a variety of nationalities and opportunities for ad-hoc cooking lessons and lots of different, possibly new things to try.
Please let us know as soon as possible, via the Emergency Contact and Welfare form about any allergies, and state how serious they are. We will ensure that the other students in your flat know of your allergy but it is each person’s individual responsibility to check what they are eating and, if cooking in a shared space, ensure all surfaces and equipment are clean before preparing food.
You are welcome to bring your laptop and camera, which in some cases may be very valuable equipment. It is your responsibility to ensure the security of these items and any other valuable equipment you bring to the programme.
The hotel room in London will be shared with one other person who will also have a key and then be accessible to cleaning staff. There is no master key available for the International Summer School team.
Once in Exeter, each flat is secure and each bedroom is secure. In some cases, the rooms need locking after you exit them and in some blocks of accommodation, they automatically lock after you shut the door. This will be clarified to you closer to the start date in the accommodation information.
The only people who would have access to your bedroom would be cleaners, our Estate Patrol security team and the International Summer School Manager who would only use the key in the event of being instructed by yourself if you have left your key inside or in the case of emergency.
Sharing a kitchen and common socialising space with other people is a really fun experience providing everyone respects each other. The International Summer School team are on hand and will help the process of understanding what is expected of students at the University of Exeter when sharing a living space with others.
There are many great benefits and opportunities that come with the experience such as learning new skills, like cooking or a hobby, to knowing that there is someone nearby to talk to if you need help or are worried about anything. There is also the opportunity to have a group of up to 6 people to socialise with straight away and make firm friends.
If you are worried about any aspect of the accommodation experience, please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will be able to go into more detail to reassure you.
Yes, this isn’t a problem but we ask that you let us know as soon as possible after confirming your place and will we aim to reduce your fee to reflect that you will no longer require accommodation. Please note that we can only reduce your fee if we have early notification and that we have not already incurred the cost of booking accommodation for you.
Bedroom bins are emptied every few days and rooms are cleaned with a bedding and towel change once a week.
The kitchens are cleaned professionally prior to arrival and then it is the responsibility of the students within that flat to maintain the cleanliness of the kitchen and to empty the bins in the accommodation waste collection area. Students are also expected to leave their rooms in pristine condition or they may incur additional housekeeping charges.
You will be sent lots of information about your course before you start, including the exact sessions within the programme but some people may decide that it isn’t what they expected and they would prefer to change course. This can be done within the first three days of the course, dependent on the capacity of the course to which you wish to change. After the end of the third day, a change is no longer possible.
We would always recommend you read through all information provided regarding the academic programme and we include in the syllabus information regarding any pre-requisites for joining a course.
If you feel at any point that the course is too hard, please don’t hesitate to speak to your lecturers and the academic coordinator to see if they can provide some additional help to work through the course. It’s not seen as a flaw to ask for support and to ask to work through things even with other students.
This can be organised but is dependent on the availability of the academic staff. It is easier to organise this if we have advance notice so please don’t hesitate to let us know if you think this might be a possibility and we can cancel it if you change your mind.
All materials for pre-reading and sessions are provided on our digital platform and available through our library. For any digital materials needed prior to the course, we will share these electronically once you are able to access our virtual learning platform but you may wish to purchase any additional books that are only available once you arrive in Exeter.
Socialising and free time
Depending on where you have travelled from, you may be one of a small number of people from that country/region but you will not be the only person in that situation. As we have a very large number of nationalities within our programme, the total number of people from one country very rarely rises above 6 people. This means that we can get a truly international audience and still have numbers where people can get to know the majority of the programme participants.
There are some set events during the programme, both in London and in Exeter but anything already provided on the programme is voluntary – you can choose to go or not to go if you have something else you wish to do at that time.
Outside of those pre-planned events, you are free to do whatever you fancy with your free time and there is a specific weekend set aside for people to go exploring in the UK or even into wider Europe.
Whilst we do have some evening activities planned, we are also on hand to help people make the most out of their time in Exeter and have been known to pull together ad-hoc additional activities that students request some help with organising.
The academic day consists of 4 hours per day of organised classes and then you would be expected to do some independent or group study time as well. Your time outside of the organised classes is up to you to control so you can balance your studies with time to relax, socialise or explore.
While travelling to a different country and meeting lots of new people may seem very daunting, we are very experienced in helping people to settle in quickly and help to build new friendships.
This is one of the key objectives of our time in London and is an important part of the role that our group leader Student Ambassadors play. The International Summer School team is also on hand for someone to talk to and to help introduce you to other people.
When you are in Exeter, this becomes even easier with your flatmates and class mates and we organise more social activities to help you engage with other people.
If you are worried at all about any aspect of interacting with new people or nervous about the start of the programme, please don’t hesitate to contact us on email@example.com and we can help you to feel more prepared.
The International Summer School team is on hand during the programme and we are happy to help you plan your free weekend by telling you about our experiences and experiences of past students as well as looking over your plans to help you see what is achievable. We are able to give you a list of links and guidance on how to book things but are not able to make bookings for you and any bookings you make based on any insight from the International Summer School team is done at your own risk.
We have lots of guidance and ideas in our pre-arrival guides about both Exeter and London and we are happy to help you to organise events that require either pre-booking or large numbers. There are so many different things to do in both locations and the surrounding area of Exeter and we want to make sure that you have the chance to explore and experience as much as you wish to try. In some cases, it may be that this involves linking you up with another student who we have been informed is also keen on the same activity and in other cases, we will send out a message to all students to see if anyone would like to join you.
Yes, if you are studying at a Higher Education level, you are eligible to join the programme but if you are under 18 at the start of the programme, there may be some requirements that we ask of you in order to ensure we meet UK law regarding the safeguarding of under 18 year old students and ensure your happiness and welfare.
If you are unsure as to your English Language level, please let us know what certification you hold or what your situation is – whether you have studied in English before. We can also give you some ideas of how you can prepare for studying in the UK to help you feel more confident when you start the programme.
You may not need a certificate to proof your English Language level but the best thing to do is to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org where we can look at your past experiences and make a recommendation as to whether you would need any certification or not.
Yes, this programme is open to anyone over the age of 18 or anyone in Higher Education. If you have finished Higher Education, even a considerable amount of time in the past, you are more than welcome to join our programme and we often get a variety of age ranges and backgrounds in the programme. This helps to diversify the perspectives as well so we would encourage people from all walks of life to apply.
If you aren’t able to travel due to Covid-19, we will do our very best to ensure you still have the opportunity to either join us in the future or online. The date of your decision to cancel your on campus experience would dictate how much of the fee paid you would receive as a refund. If you are worried about confirming something due to covid-19 or any other personal situation, please email email@example.com to talk through your concerns and we can be specific to your situation as to how we would proceed.
If we have to cancel our on-campus experience due to Covid-19 in the summer of 2023, you will be offered either a place on our online programme at a lower rate and the refund of any difference in fees paid, or you could choose to take a full refund. You will also be given priority as a group for joining the following year’s on-campus experience.
As we always prepare our programmes well in advance of the delivery dates, we have to be flexible and retain the right to change any or all portions of our activity in order to react to anything that may interrupt part or all of the delivery. Please rest assured that any decisions to change any part of the programme are not taken lightly, but taken with the safety, wellbeing and satisfaction of our students, colleagues and general public at the very forefront.
We reserve the right to change any part of the International Summer School but will ensure that any changes are communicated in a timely fashion.