15 Summer Programs That Broaden Your Cultural Horizons

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Happy friends from different races.

15 Summer Programs That Broaden Your Cultural Horizons

Looking for a cool way to spend your summer? If you’re a high school student eager to step out of your comfort zone and dive into new experiences, summer programs designed to broaden your cultural horizons could be just what you need. These programs are more than just fun; they’re a chance to see the world, learn new languages, and meet students from everywhere. You could be exploring new places, learning about global issues, or even getting to know a culture without leaving your home country.

Understanding different cultures is super important in today’s world. By taking part in one of these summer programs, you’re not just having a great summer—you’re also getting ready for a future where knowing about the world is a big plus. You’ll end up making friends from all over, seeing things from new perspectives, and gaining skills that help you in school and beyond. So, if you’re ready for an adventure this summer, we’re here to show you all the awesome summer programs that can definitely broaden your cultural horizon.

1. Smithsonian Student Travel

  • Location: Global.
  • Cost: $7,290- $9,990 + airfare
  • Program Dates: July- August 2024 (depending on the program)
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Eligibility: Students completing 8th through 12th grades.

Smithsonian Student Travel lets high school students travel and learn about the world during the summer. They go on trips in the U.S. and other countries, doing fun activities that teach them about history, culture, and more. Experts and trip leaders guide them, helping them see the world through the Smithsonian’s expert eyes. This program is great for making new friends and learning in a way that could lead to positive changes in the world.

Happy female student travel in the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

The trips are based on different themes like climate change and technology, all inspired by the Smithsonian’s work. Students visit places where they can see what they’re learning about come to life. This helps them understand the world better, think about its future, and learn how to make a difference. It’s a way for students from all backgrounds to come together, learn from each other, and start thinking globally.

2. Brown Experiential Education: Oxford

  • Location: Oxford, England.
  • Cost: $7,534
  • Program Dates: July 8- July 19, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 10, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18.

The Brown Experiential Education: Oxford program offers high school students a chance to study public policy at Oxford University. It mixes classroom learning with trips to Oxford and London, allowing students to meet experts and understand global policy and politics. This program teaches how to create effective policies by considering various global and political perspectives, without the pressure of traditional grades. Instead, participants receive a report and a certificate upon completion.

This educational experience goes beyond academics by fostering connections among students with interests in international issues and diverse cultures. It’s an ideal setting for young people eager to learn about the world and public policy in a direct and engaging way. By bringing students together from different backgrounds, the program encourages an understanding of diversity and global issues, preparing them for a future in an interconnected world.

3. Brown Experiential Education: Rome

  • Location: Rome, Italy.
  • Cost: $7,534
  • Program Dates: June 24- July 5, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 10, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18.

The Brown Experiential Education Program in Rome is a two-week course for high school students interested in exploring Rome’s rich history and culture while learning the Italian language. Set in the Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood, the program covers archaeology, history, literature, and arts. Students will not only study in a traditional classroom setting but also use Rome itself as a living classroom, enhancing their Italian language skills as they visit and learn about the city’s iconic landmarks.

This immersive experience promotes diversity and global understanding by introducing students to the depth of Italian culture and history. Through visits to significant historical sites like the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica, students gain a firsthand understanding of the global significance of Rome. The program’s structure, combining language learning with cultural exploration, encourages students to appreciate different perspectives and fosters a deeper connection with a culture different from their own. This approach enriches students’ educational journey, making it a powerful experience in learning about diversity and the world.

4. Brown Experiential Education: Barcelona

  • Location: Rome, Italy.
  • Cost: $7,534
  • Program Dates: June 24- July 5, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 10, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18.

The Brown Experiential Education Program in Barcelona offers high school students a unique blend of classroom learning and city exploration. It features two main courses: Intermediate Immersive Spanish, focusing on enhancing Spanish language skills, and Barcelona in Ten Buildings, which provides insight into Barcelona’s rich history through its iconic architecture. This program is designed not just for academic learning but for immersing students in the local culture, food, and the unique blend of Catalan and Spanish influences that define Barcelona.

By engaging directly with the city’s diverse environments, students gain a broader understanding of global cultures and perspectives. Exploring Barcelona’s famous buildings and experiencing its vibrant culture firsthand fosters an appreciation for diversity and the city’s significance in European history. This approach encourages students to connect with and understand different cultures, promoting global awareness and understanding in a way that goes beyond traditional classroom learning.

5. Oxbridge Academic Summer Programs

  • Location: Oxford, Cambridge, Barcelona, New York, Paris
  • Cost: $7,125- $12,225 (depending on the program)
  • Program Dates: Oxford: July 2 – July 27, 2024; Cambridge: July 7 – July 20, 2024/ July 22 – August 4, 2024; Barcelona: July 4 – July 31, 2024; New York: June 26 – July 23, 2024; Paris: July 7 – August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Students grades 9-12.

Oxbridge Academic Programs offers summer study experiences for students aged 13 to 18 from all over the world, in famous cities and universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and New York. These one to four-week programs cover topics from arts to science, where students learn from experts and live in university or boarding school housing. They also get grades that can help with college applications.

Aerial of University of Oxford

The program is special because it brings together young people from over 80 countries, making it a great way to learn about different cultures and make friends from around the world. Classes are small, so each student gets a lot of attention, and there’s plenty of fun outside of class with activities and trips. This mix of learning and cultural exchange helps students understand the world better and prepares them for a global society.

6. UChicago Neubauer Family Adelante Summer Scholars

  • Location: University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Cost: All program costs, inclusive of tuition, room and board, and roundtrip transportation are completely covered.
  • Program Dates: July 21- July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 5, 2024
  • Eligibility: Current 11th-grade students who are at least 15 years old and enrolled in a U.S. high school.

The University of Chicago’s Neubauer Family Adelante Summer Scholars program is designed for high school students from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. It gives them a chance to see what college life is like at the University of Chicago by letting them take classes, go on tours, and learn how to apply to college. The program aims to help these students get a feel for university life and the opportunities it offers.

Besides academic activities, the program includes fun outings in Chicago, like watching baseball games, going on boat tours, and eating at famous restaurants. These experiences show students the city’s culture and what it’s like to live and study in a big urban area. Through these diverse activities, the program encourages students to learn about different cultures and perspectives, helping them grow personally and understand the world better.

7. Indigenous Fly-In Program at Dartmouth

  • Location: Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Dates: October 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: Rising U.S. high school seniors who identify as Indigenous or have an interest in the Indigenous community.

Dartmouth College offers the Indigenous Fly-In (IFI) program for high school seniors in the U.S. who are either Indigenous or interested in Indigenous studies. This program provides an in-depth look at life at Dartmouth, focusing on its Indigenous community. Participants will learn about college admissions and financial aid and will get a tour of Dartmouth’s campus and its facilities. It’s a unique opportunity for students to get a real sense of college life and the support Dartmouth offers to its Indigenous students.

During the program, students will have the chance to meet and talk with current Dartmouth students and staff, who will share their own experiences and offer advice. There’s a special emphasis on understanding the academic and social lives of Native students at Dartmouth. This program helps students learn about the college and also promotes diversity and global awareness.

8. Youth Ambassadors Program

  • Location: Global.
  • Cost: Cost covered by the U.S. Department of State
  • Program Dates: June- August 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students ages 15-18.

The Youth Ambassadors Program is a project that brings high school students and mentors from different parts of the Americas together. Its goal is to help them understand each other better, improve their leadership skills, and prepare them to make positive changes in their communities. The program includes students traveling from Latin America and the Caribbean to the U.S., and also some traveling from the U.S. to other countries. They participate in workshops, do community service, work on team projects, meet leaders, and live with American families to learn more about the culture.

This program is great for promoting diversity and helping students from various backgrounds share and learn from each other’s experiences. When the students go back home, they start their own projects to help solve problems in their communities using what they’ve learned. This not only makes them better leaders but also teaches them how to work together with people from different cultures, building a sense of global community and cooperation.

9. The Paideia Institute

  • Location: Rome; Greece; Online.
  • Cost: Living in Rome & Living Greek in Greece: $5500; Living Latin Online: $1000; Living Greek Online: $1250
  • Program Dates: Living in Rome: June 30- July 14; Living Greek in Greece: July 14- July 28; Living Latin Online: July 1- July 12; Living Greek Online: July- August (6 weeks)
  • Application Deadline: Living in Rome & Living Greek in Greece: March 1; Living Latin Online & Living Greek Online: May 1
  • Eligibility: All high school grade levels.

The Paideia Institute offers summer programs for students interested in Latin and Ancient Greek, blending language lessons with cultural trips. This approach helps students at all levels, from beginners to advanced, learn about classical cultures directly where these languages were originally spoken. The institute provides a variety of courses, including options to study in historic places like Rome and Greece or online from home.

Paideia’s programs are designed to be immersive, allowing students to experience ancient sites and modern culture alongside their studies. They also offer online classes for those who can’t travel. The goal is to make learning about ancient languages and cultures accessible and interesting to more people. Paideia supports this by offering financial aid and promoting the value of classical studies today, helping students from different backgrounds learn about and appreciate ancient cultures.

10. School Year Abroad Summer Program

  • Location: Spain, France, Italy.
  • Cost: $9500 ($50 application fee) + airfare, personal expenses such as visa fees, and travel insurance.
  • Program Dates: June 19- July 23, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions.
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade high school students.

The SYA Summer program is a five-week adventure where high school students get to learn a new language and experience a different culture by living with a local family and taking classes. The first four weeks focus on learning in class and through fun activities, while the last week is for traveling around the country, helping students feel like it’s their second home. It’s great for students who want to get better at speaking another language and understanding how people live in other parts of the world.

Young students of language school on color background

This summer program, designed to broaden your cultural horizons, helps you learn about and appreciate different cultures by living and studying in a new place. Staying with a host family and joining in local activities gives them a real look at life in another country. This not only improves their language skills but also opens their minds to new ways of seeing the world. By meeting people from different backgrounds, students learn to value diversity and gain a global perspective, making them more ready to be part of a worldwide community.

11. Brown Environmental Leadership Labs

  • Location: Alaska; Eastern Sierras; Rhode Island.
  • Cost: Alaska: $6,958; Eastern Sierras: $6,958; Rhode Island: $5,716
  • Program Dates: Alaska: July 14- July 27; Eastern Sierras: July 25- Aug 4; Rhode Island: July 7- July 19, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18.

The Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL) helps high school students learn about the environment and leadership through programs in Alaska, the Eastern Sierras, and Rhode Island. Each place offers unique experiences, like exploring Native history in Alaska, studying science in the Eastern Sierras, and learning about climate change at Brown University in Rhode Island. Students do field trips and projects to learn how to solve environmental problems.

This summer program is designed to broaden your cultural horizon and teach students about different cultures and the importance of looking after the environment in various parts of the world. They get to see the environmental challenges different communities face and work together on projects to help. This experience brings students from different backgrounds together, helping them understand and appreciate the world’s diversity. They learn to be leaders who care about our planet and know how to make a positive impact in their communities.

12. World Affairs Youth Seminar at Auburn University

  • Location: Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.
  • Cost: $890
  • Program Dates: July 7 – July 12, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th – 12th grade students.

The World Affairs Youth Seminar at Auburn University is a program where high school students can participate in a Model United Nations (MUN), acting as delegates to talk about and learn about global issues. They prepare by studying international conflicts with the help of college students. This way, they get to discuss different topics from around the world every day in a realistic setting.

Besides learning about global issues, students also experience what it’s like to live on a college campus, stay in dorms, and take part in fun activities, all while being looked after by counselors. There’s also a chance to help with a study on learning about human rights, which helps understand how young people learn about and see world problems. The whole experience teaches students about different cultures and viewpoints, helping them understand the world better.

13. BIMA at Brandeis University

  • Location: Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.
  • Cost: $5,535
  • Program Dates: July 7, 2024 to July 26, 2024.
  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Jewish or non-Jewish students aged 15-18

BIMA at Brandeis University is a summer arts camp for teens who are into arts and care about social justice and exploring these interests through a Jewish perspective. Students will spend three weeks on campus diving into creative activities. The camp is open to all, including students of different Jewish backgrounds, those not following any religion, and people of other faiths, making it great for curious and open-minded students. They’ll get to do art, take part in Jewish cultural activities, learn about social justice, and attend workshops led by experts in Jewish studies.

two Judaism scholars facing one another

BIMA isn’t just about improving art skills; it’s a community where students can grow, find their own voice in art, and connect with Jewish traditions and social justice ideas. It welcomes students from various cultures, helping them learn from each other in a supportive setting. This mix of art, culture, and discussion about important issues helps students understand more about diversity and the world, all while being part of a caring community.

14. International Relations Academy at Georgetown

  • LocationGeorgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • Cost: Residential: $3,389; Commuter: $2,625
  • Program Dates: Session 1: June 23- June 29, 2024; Session 2: July 21- July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High School Students.

The Georgetown International Relations Academy is a one-week summer program for high school students interested in learning about global affairs and how countries work together. Students get to learn from experts about topics like politics, law, and environmental issues through classes, field trips, and discussions. This helps them understand the big picture of how nations address worldwide problems and encourages them to think critically about these issues.

This program also brings together students from different places, giving them a chance to learn from each other and see how diverse perspectives are essential for understanding international relations. It’s designed to make students more globally aware and thoughtful about how to solve global challenges. By participating, students get a head start on thinking about their future roles in the world and how they can contribute to international cooperation and peace.

15. Global Culture and Media Academy at Penn

  • Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Cost: $9,700 ($75 application fee)
  • Program Dates: July 6 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Current 10th-11th grade students.

The Global Culture and Media Academy teaches students about how language and culture affect communication in our worldwide community. It helps them become ready for the modern world by learning how to deal with cultural differences, stereotypes, and global media in a thoughtful way. This program is where students live and learn together, offering no online classes and making sure everyone gets a full experience. Students will do activities to understand better how cultures view each other, discuss art and music from different perspectives, handle social media wisely across cultures, and work on projects to clear up common misunderstandings about stereotypes.

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

This course is all about doing things together and learning from real experiences. It includes talks from university teachers and local experts, plus hands-on activities that make students think deeply about what they’re learning. By the end of the program, students will know how to communicate better with people from other cultures and understand the global impact of media and products. This helps them grow as global citizens who value diversity and can share ideas in a way that brings people closer together, making them more prepared to live and work in our interconnected world.

Final Thoughts

The 15 summer programs above, each designed to broaden your cultural horizon, are a chance to step into the wider world, learn about new cultures, and gain skills that matter in today’s globally connected society. Each program, with its unique focus, invites you to dive deep into learning languages, understanding different lifestyles through homestays, or tackling global issues head-on. These experiences promise not only to make your summer memorable but also to help shape how you see the world and your role in it.

Joining any of the summer programs above means you’re ready to grow and embrace the diversity our world offers, thus definitely broadening your cultural horizon. So, if you’re looking to make the most out of your high school summers and prepare for a future that values cultural awareness and global understanding, these programs are the perfect starting point.



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