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15 International Relations Summer Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young students of language school on color background

15 International Relations Summer Programs for High School Students

Understanding international relations has never been more crucial in today’s interconnected world, where global events can have immediate and far-reaching impacts. International relations summer programs offer a starting point for high school students looking into the complexities of global politics.

These programs not only introduce young scholars to the pressing issues facing our world but also equip them with the analytical tools and communication skills necessary for future leadership roles on the global stage.

Whether you’re drawn to global security dynamics, the intricacies of international law, or environmental policy challenges, a program is tailored to spark your intellectual curiosity and deepen your understanding.

International Relations Summer Programs for High School Students – General International Relations

1. Georgetown University: International Relations Academy

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Specific dates not provided; inquire for more details.

Georgetown University stands out among international relations summer programs for high school students through its International Relations Academy. This program stands out for providing young individuals with an immersive experience in the complex world of global politics and diplomacy.

3 people talking to each other

Set against the backdrop of one of the United States’ most prestigious universities in Washington, D.C., the program attracts students from across the globe, offering them a unique opportunity to delve into critical international issues, engage with experienced faculty, and develop essential skills in leadership, negotiation, and policy analysis.

Through interactive sessions and field trips, students gain firsthand insights into the workings of international organizations, think tanks, and diplomatic missions, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the global landscape.

The Academy’s curriculum is carefully designed to challenge participants, encouraging them to critically assess international relations and the role of diplomacy in shaping worldwide peace and security.

2. Tufts University: Pre-College Program in International Relations

  • Location: Greater Boston Area, MA
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Not specified; inquire for updated details.

The Tufts University Pre-College Program in International Relations stands out among international relations summer programs for high school students by offering an immersive and intellectually stimulating environment where young scholars can explore the complexities of global politics.

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Situated near the vibrant city of Boston, this program draws upon Tufts University’s renowned academic resources and faculty to provide students with an unparalleled introduction to international relations.

Participants engage in rigorous academic coursework that covers critical issues such as diplomacy, international conflict and cooperation, global governance, and the role of international organizations. Through lectures, discussions, and simulation exercises, students are encouraged to think critically about current global challenges and develop their perspectives on international affairs.

The program also emphasizes the development of research and writing skills, preparing students for success in higher education and beyond. By connecting with peers worldwide and participating in social and extracurricular activities, students in the Tufts University Pre-College Program gain a well-rounded experience that extends far beyond the classroom, making it a distinctive choice for high school students who are passionate about international relations.

3. Oxford Summer Courses: International Relations

  • Location: Oxford, UK
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: Ages 16-24
  • Important Dates: Not specified; inquire for updated details.

Oxford Summer Courses offers a premier experience in its International Relations track, positioning itself prominently within the landscape of international relations summer programs for high school students.

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This esteemed program, held in Oxford’s historic and academically rich environment, provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to explore the complexities and nuances of global affairs.

Through a curriculum that blends rigorous academic instruction with the storied tradition of Oxford’s educational heritage, participants are introduced to various topics, including diplomacy, international conflict, economic development, and human rights.

Faculty and guest speakers, renowned in their respective fields, guide students through interactive lectures, debates, and simulation exercises that enhance their understanding of international relations theories and develop critical thinking and articulate communication skills.

4. USC: International Relations Summer Program

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: June 16 – July 13, 2024.

The USC International Relations Summer Program shines as a remarkable platform within the spectrum of international relations summer programs for high school students. Set in the heart of Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, this program offers students a deep dive into the complexities and challenges of global politics and international relations.

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Through an engaging curriculum that merges theory with practical analysis, students examine the forces shaping global affairs, including the intricacies of diplomacy, conflict resolution, and international policy.

Esteemed faculty members guide participants through lectures, discussions, and simulation exercises, encouraging them to think critically about the role of nations on the world stage and the impact of international decisions on global peace and security.

This immersive experience enhances students’ academic understanding of international relations and fosters essential skills such as leadership, negotiation, and effective communication. By providing a dynamic and supportive learning environment, the USC International Relations Summer Program prepares students for future academic pursuits and careers, making it an invaluable opportunity for those looking to make their mark on the world.

5. University of Pennsylvania: Introduction to International Relations

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Not specified; inquire for updated details.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Introduction to International Relations course is an exceptional opportunity for high school students in international relations summer programs.

Hosted by an Ivy League institution renowned for its academic excellence, this program invites ambitious high school students to study global politics, diplomacy, and international affairs.

Students are introduced to foundational theories and concepts that govern international relations, including power dynamics, state sovereignty, conflict resolution, and the role of international organizations like the United Nations.

Through lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, participants engage with current global issues, learning to analyze and critique them from various theoretical perspectives. The program’s rigorous curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and develop critical thinking, public speaking, and academic writing skills.

6. Immerse Education International Relations Programme

  • Locations: Cambridge, Oxford, Sydney, Online
  • Subfield: General International Relations
  • Eligibility: Age-based cohorts (13-15 and 16-18)
  • Important Dates: Not specified; inquire for details.

The Immerse Education International Relations Programme has swiftly become a hallmark among international relations summer programs for high school students. It provides a unique and immersive educational experience that delves deep into the complex world of global politics and diplomacy.

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Hosted in prestigious locations such as Cambridge and Oxford, the program brings together students from around the globe to engage in a rigorous academic curriculum developed and taught by experts in the field.

Through a blend of lectures, workshops, and simulation exercises, participants are exposed to a wide array of topics, including international law, global governance, conflict resolution, and the impact of globalization on world affairs.

What sets the Immerse Education program apart is its commitment to offering students a holistic learning experience that enhances their academic understanding of international relations and hones their critical thinking, public speaking, and leadership skills.

International Relations Summer Program for High School Students – Leadership

7. Yale International Relations Leadership Institute

  • Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Subfield: Leadership in International Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: July 30th – August 4th, 2024.

The Yale International Relations Leadership Institute (YIRLI) is a distinguished program among international relations summer programs for high school students, hosted by one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, Yale University.

This program is specifically tailored to cultivate the next generation of global leaders by providing them with an intensive, hands-on exploration of international relations, public policy, and leadership.

Throughout the program, students engage in a comprehensive curriculum that includes lectures, seminars, and workshops led by Yale faculty and experts in international relations. Participants can develop critical thinking and leadership skills through simulations and Model United Nations sessions, which challenge them to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Additionally, YIRLI encourages students to critically examine global issues, engage in thoughtful debate, and collaborate with peers from around the globe, fostering a dynamic learning environment that extends beyond traditional classroom boundaries. This program enhances students’ understanding of international affairs and prepares them for future academic and career pursuits in a globally interconnected world.

International Relations Summer Programs for High School Students – International Law, Political Theory, Diplomacy

8. Oxford International Relations Summer School

  • Location: Oxford, UK
  • Subfield: Various, including International Law, Political Theory, Diplomacy
  • Eligibility: Ages 15-18
  • Important Dates: Not specified; inquire for updated details.

The Oxford International Relations Summer School is a premier destination for high school students in international relations summer programs. Hosted in Oxford’s historic and academically rich environment, this program offers an unrivaled opportunity for young scholars to dive deep into global politics and relations.

View of students walking in the campus.

It brings together students from around the globe to engage in rigorous study, debate, and analysis of critical issues that shape the modern world, from global security and human rights to economic development and environmental sustainability.

Through a curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with practical application, participants are encouraged to develop a nuanced understanding of international affairs, enhance their analytical skills, and articulate well-informed arguments.

The program features interactive lectures, seminars, and workshops led by experts in the field, providing students with insights into the challenges and opportunities of global governance. Furthermore, the immersive experience of studying at Oxford allows students to walk in the footsteps of world leaders and thinkers, fostering a profound connection to the academic legacy of international relations.

9. UCLA: Model United Nations Summer Institute

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Subfield: Model United Nations
  • Eligibility: High school students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Important Dates: Application deadline: June 1, 2024; Enrollment deadline: June 15, 2024.

The UCLA Model United Nations Summer Institute (MUNSI) is an exemplary option for high school students in international relations summer programs. This unique program, located on the bustling campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, offers students an in-depth exploration of global diplomacy, international relations theories, and the workings of the United Nations.

Students talking in a debate.

Participants can simulate UN conferences, where they role-play as delegates from different countries, debate on global issues, and collaborate to draft resolutions. This hands-on approach enhances students’ understanding of complex international issues and sharpens their public speaking, negotiation, and leadership skills.

The curriculum, designed by award-winning collegiate Model UN delegates and facilitated under the direction of the UCLA International Institute, emphasizes active learning through simulations, role-playing, and negotiation exercises.

By engaging with peers from diverse backgrounds and learning from experts in the field, students are prepared for leadership roles in a globalized world. The UCLA MUNSI stands out for its commitment to providing a comprehensive educational experience that fosters critical thinking, diplomacy, and a deeper appreciation for global affairs.

10. National Student Leadership Conference: International Diplomacy

  • Location: Georgetown & Columbia Universities (D.C. & NYC)
  • Subfield: Diplomacy
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Sessions between June 17 – August 1, 2024.

The National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on International Diplomacy is a notable fixture among international relations summer programs for high school students. It is renowned for its immersive approach to global diplomacy and the intricacies of international affairs.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Hosted in significant locations rich in political history and action, such as Washington, D.C., the program invites students to step into the roles of diplomats and engage with the pressing challenges that face today’s international community.

This dynamic setting provides a practical backdrop for rigorous academic exploration, leadership development, and direct interaction with professionals in the field of international relations. Participants gain unparalleled insights through simulations, including Model United Nations exercises. They are privy to exclusive briefings at key diplomatic institutions like the United Nations and the U.S. Department of State.

This holistic curriculum is designed to equip students with a profound understanding of global issues, negotiation tactics, and the complexity of international policymaking. By fostering an environment of learning through direct engagement, the NSLC on International Diplomacy does more than educate; it inspires students to become informed, capable leaders in a globalized world, setting a high standard for what educational summer programs can achieve.

11. Yale Young Global Scholars: Politics, Law, & Economics

  • Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Subfield: Politics, Law, & Economics
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Various sessions from June 23 – August 2, 2024.

The Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program, specifically its Politics, Law, & Economics session, is highly regarded among international relations summer programs for high school students.

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This intensive program, hosted at the prestigious Yale University, offers ambitious students from around the globe an opportunity to dive into the complex intersections of governance, economic structures, and legal frameworks that shape our world.

With a curriculum that balances theoretical knowledge with practical application, participants are encouraged to critically analyze and discuss contemporary global issues, policy-making, and the principles of economic theory in the context of international affairs.

The program’s unique pedagogical approach combines lectures by Yale faculty, small group discussions, and interactive projects, facilitating a dynamic learning environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and collaborative problem-solving.

12. Summer Internships at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

  • Location: Remote and in-person (Philadelphia) options
  • Subfield: Foreign Policy and Relations
  • Eligibility: High school students authorized for employment in the US
  • Important Dates: Inquire for updated details.

The Summer Internships at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) are a premier experience among international relations summer programs for high school students. They offer a unique blend of academic enrichment and practical global policy and foreign affairs knowledge.

Female student smiling at the camera.

This program is meticulously designed to immerse ambitious students in the intricacies of international diplomacy, policy analysis, and global security issues, providing them with an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to the research and initiatives of one of the leading think tanks in the field.

Participants engage in various activities, from assisting with policy research to organizing and participating in key events that bring together experts and practitioners worldwide. The internships allow students to gain valuable insights into international relations from a practical standpoint and help them develop skills crucial for their academic and professional future, including critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills.

By placing students in the heart of foreign policy research and discourse, the FPRI offers a unique platform for high school students to advance their understanding of global issues and their implications for international relations, enriching their educational journey.

International Relations Summer Program for High School Students – Climate, Energy, and Sustainability

13. UChicago’s Exploring Solutions to Global Problems: Climate, Energy, & Sustainability

  • Location: Residential, University of Chicago
  • Subfield: Climate, Energy, and Sustainability
  • Eligibility: At least 15 years old, current high school sophomore or junior in the U.S.
  • Important Dates: Inquire for updated details.

UChicago’s Exploring Solutions to Global Problems: Climate, Energy, & Sustainability program is a distinguished example of an international relations summer program for high school students, focusing on our time’s pressing and pivotal issues.

Soil Test. Female agronomist taking notes in the field. Environmental protection, organic soil certification, research

Hosted by the University of Chicago, a world leader in research and education, this program delves into the challenges and opportunities that climate change, energy needs, and sustainability present to global politics and policy-making.

Participants are offered an exceptional educational experience, combining the university’s rigorous academic standards with hands-on learning opportunities. Through workshops, seminars, and collaborative projects, students engage directly with environmental science, policy, and economics experts, exploring innovative solutions to global environmental issues.

The program encourages students to think critically about the interconnectedness of global systems and the impact of human activity on our planet, fostering a deep understanding of the role of international cooperation in addressing global challenges.

This immersive experience broadens students’ perspectives on environmental issues. It equips them with the analytical tools and knowledge base to contribute to meaningful solutions in their future careers and civic engagement.

International Relations Summer Programs for High School Students – Culturally Rich Experience

14. CIEE Summer Abroad Programs

  • Locations: Multiple, including Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan
  • Subfield: Not all programs are solely focused on International Relations but offer a culturally rich experience that complements interests in the field
  • Eligibility and Important Dates: Specifics vary; consult CIEE for details.

The CIEE Summer Abroad Programs are a pivotal component of international relations summer programs for high school students, offering an expansive range of immersive experiences that stretch across the globe.

Students talking in a conference room.

These programs are designed to introduce students to international relations’ foundational theories and concepts and immerse them in worldwide countries’ cultural, social, and political landscapes.

From diplomacy and peace studies in Estonia to exploring Ghana’s rich cultural heritage, CIEE allows students to learn outside traditional classroom settings and apply their knowledge in real-world contexts.

Each destination offers a unique curriculum focused on specific aspects of international relations, facilitated by expert instructors and local professionals. This hands-on approach allows students to engage with global issues firsthand, enhancing their understanding of international dynamics through cultural immersion and experiential learning.

15. Various European Summer Schools

  • Locations: Across Europe, including Paris, Online (UK), Kozárovice (Czech Republic), Brussels, Brno (Czech Republic), Cambridge (UK), Barcelona (Spain), Online (UK)
  • Subfield: Varied topics, including European politics, international relations theory, global security
  • Eligibility and Important Dates: Specific to each program; please refer to the source for detailed information.

Various European Summer Schools offer many enriching international relations summer programs for high school students, presenting an invaluable opportunity to explore global politics, diplomacy, and international affairs from diverse cultural and academic perspectives.

Students walking on the streets.

Across Europe, from the historic halls of Sorbonne Université in Paris to the strategic studies facilitated by the NATO Summer School in the Czech Republic, these programs cater to a wide array of interests within international relations.

Students can delve into pressing global issues, engage with expert faculty, and participate in simulations that mirror the complexities of world diplomacy. For instance, the Model EU Brussels offers a simulation of EU decision-making processes, providing practical insights into European politics.

Meanwhile, the program on International Relations and Threats to Global Security at Masaryk University combines academic classes with active group work and guest presentations, ideal for those interested in global security.

Each summer school is uniquely positioned to offer a comprehensive view of international relations, grounded in its location’s rich historical and political context. These programs not only enhance students’ academic knowledge but also develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, preparing them for future challenges in the global arena.

What Skills Can You Gain from International Relations Summer Programs?

Participating in international relations summer programs for high school students can equip you with a broad spectrum of valuable skills, essential not just for academic and professional pursuits in international relations but also for informed global citizenship.

These programs are designed to foster critical thinking by encouraging students to analyze complex global issues from multiple perspectives. Students enhance their public speaking and negotiation abilities through debates, discussions, and simulations, such as Model United Nations, learning to articulate arguments coherently and persuade diverse audiences.

Additionally, these programs emphasize research skills, teaching students to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information to support their viewpoints. Cultural awareness and sensitivity are also vital components, as interacting with peers worldwide and studying global affairs broaden one’s understanding of different cultures and global interdependencies.

Leadership and teamwork skills are honed through collaborative projects and leadership workshops, preparing students to take initiative and work effectively in diverse groups. Moreover, participating in these programs can improve academic writing skills, as many include components that require writing policy briefs, position papers, or research essays.

How Do Summer Programs Prepare Students for College-Level International Relations Studies?

International relations summer programs for high school students are meticulously crafted to bridge the gap between secondary education and the rigorous demands of college-level studies in international relations and related fields.

These programs immerse students in the foundational theories, key issues, and methodologies underpinning international relations, providing early exposure to the academic rigor and breadth of content they can expect in higher education.

Students develop a robust analytical framework by engaging with complex global issues through lectures, case studies, and interactive simulations, enhancing their ability to evaluate international events, policies, and relations critically.

Such exposure cultivates research and writing skills vital for college success as students learn to construct well-founded arguments, undertake comprehensive literature reviews, and articulate their insights in essays and reports.

Furthermore, these summer programs encourage collaborative learning and debate, fostering an academic community where students can hone their communication and interpersonal skills—attributes indispensable for college seminars and group projects.

How to Choose the Right International Relations Summer Program for You?

Choosing the right international relations summer program can transform a student’s academic and career trajectory. Several vital factors should guide your decision-making process when navigating the vast array of international relations summer programs for high school students.

Firstly, consider the program’s curriculum and how it aligns with your interests and academic goals. Are you more intrigued by global security, diplomacy, environmental policy, or human rights? Each program has its specialties, and finding one that resonates with your passions is crucial.

Secondly, look into the program’s faculty and guest speakers. Programs led by experienced professionals and academics can provide deeper insights and more valuable learning experiences.

Thirdly, consider the program’s structure—whether it’s more lecture-based, involves hands-on projects, or offers opportunities for immersive experiences like Model United Nations simulations or visits to international organizations.

Another significant aspect is the program’s location, as studying in a culturally and politically important city can enrich your understanding of international relations. Review the program’s alumni network and career support services, as these can be invaluable resources for your future academic and professional endeavors.

Lastly, don’t overlook practical considerations such as the duration, cost, and available scholarships or financial aid. Balancing these factors with your personal and academic aspirations will help you select an international relations summer program that fulfills your educational needs and positions you for success in the dynamic field of international relations.

Conclusion

As we conclude our exploration of the top 15 international relations summer programs for high school students, it’s evident that each offers a unique lens through which to view and engage with the world.

These programs serve as an initial step toward nurturing a generation of informed citizens and leaders capable of navigating the complexities of international affairs with empathy, intelligence, and integrity.

By choosing a program that aligns with your interests and aspirations, you are not just preparing for your academic and professional future; you are taking a step towards becoming an active participant in shaping a more just, peaceful, and interconnected world.

Remember, the skills and perspectives gained from these summer experiences will enrich your understanding of global affairs and empower you to make meaningful contributions to international dialogue and cooperation, whatever your future.

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