Jun 06

Productive Summer Break for International School Students

by Trent Baumbach

Boarding Schools Guide

Productive Summer Break for International School Students


After a jam packed school year, students young and old are elated for the chance to enjoy summer with friends and family. At the same time, parents often worry how their children can make best use of all that free time without falling behind academically. In fact, a study of 3rd to 5th graders showed that over the course of summer break, students lost an average 20% of progress made in reading and 27% for math (Scholastic).

In Japan, international school students will notice that the unique learning environment found in their classrooms suddenly vanishes as summer break begins. Research by the National Summer Learning Association shows that students can lose up to two months of prior learning over summer break while they are away from the classroom.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the 6 best ways for international school students to spend their summers to explore new interests and stay ahead in school, all while having fun.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

Top 6 Ways for International School Students to Spend their Summers

1. Attend a Summer Program Abroad

Attending a summer program abroad is a great opportunity for international school students to experience a new culture, improve language skills, and make new friends from around the world. There are many programs available that cater to different interests and needs, such as language immersion programs, academic programs, sports camps, and cultural exchange programs. For example, the Yale Young Global Scholars program gathers students from 150+ nations for a two-week session at Yale University’s campus. Programs like this or Summer@Brown give students the chance to immerse in college level courses aligned with their interests, and may find their participation positively impacts their chance of admittance to that school.

2. Study for Standardized Tests

By dedicating a few hours a day to studying for SSAT, SAT®, ACT, or AP® exams, students can improve their test scores and increase the chances of getting into a top boarding school or university abroad. Through a combination of self-study via online study resources and guided study through group classes and one-on-one tutoring, students can make strides in just a few months.

For example, a study by Kaplan Test Prep found that students who spend at least 20 hours preparing for the SAT® score an average of 115 points higher than those who don’t. Tokyo Academics’ private tutors work with international school students on a range of tests including the SAT®, SSAT, TOEFL, Eiken, and more. 

3. Immerse in an English-only Environment

During the summer, the opportunity to use English can greatly decrease for many international school students. When students are surrounded by English speakers all the time, they are constantly hearing and speaking the language, which can help them efficiently improve their language skills. This kind of immersion can help students with English listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a natural and authentic setting.

According to a study by the British Council, students who participate in English language immersion programs can improve their language skills by up to 30%. Whether through group classes, summer camp (including academic summer camps), or working with an English tutor, being in an English-only environment will impact student outcomes.

4. Build your Skills Through Volunteer, Internship, or Work Experience

Volunteering, internships, and part time work provides the opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in an area of interest, while directly applying concepts learned in school. While younger students can begin to explore career interests, older students can boost their college applications by demonstrating a commitment to hard work and service.

5. Pursue a Personal Project

Who ever said learning can’t be fun? For students less apt to the traditional classroom learning environment, personal projects like writing a novel, learning a new language, or researching a particular topic can be a rewarding experience. By working on something they’re already interested in, students can develop their skills and stay motivated. For example, Tokyo Academics works with students to build their own STEM, humanities, or social sciences research projects. Through this, students dive deeper into an area of interest while creating something to stand out in boarding school or university applications. 

6. Play Academic Video Games

Sometimes what a student needs the most is time to relax, recharge, and simply have fun. Academic video games, such as those found at Cool Math Games and Math Playground, give students immediate feedback on their performance while keeping them engaged. English and math games can supplement the video games like Minecraft and Roblox that nearly all students play.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

What should I do next?

Balancing parents’ and students’ expectations for summer break can be tough. By attending a summer program abroad, studying for standardized tests, immersing in an English environment, working or volunteering, pursuing a personal project, or even playing academic video games, parents can be at ease that their kids won’t fall behind.

For resources on any of the 6 ideas mentioned above,  Please click here and connect with our academic experts.

SAT® and AP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse Tokyo Academics.

Join the best summer school program in Japan! Our 2024 Summer Classes are specially designed to help students excel in the fall. Explore over 200 classes tailored for grades 3-12 and make your summer count.

Enroll today and transform your academic journey!