For some high school graduates, summer is a time to have fun before buckling down for college in the fall. For others, it’s a time to brush up on skills that will ensure success in a college career.

But what if you could do both?

That’s the idea behind the International Student Summer Institute, a program for international first-year students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Running from July 31 to August 25, it helps international students improve their academic English speaking, reading, and writing skills before fall classes begin. And it provides opportunities to get familiar with campus and meet new friends.

The International Student Summer Institute helps participants get to know each other through visits to Madison attractions like the farmers’ market at the majestic Wisconsin Capitol. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

“UW-Madison is a big university, but it feels much smaller once you get to know people,” says John Zumbrunnen, UW-Madison professor of political science and faculty director of Chadbourne Residential College. “The International Student Summer Institute helps you do this naturally. You get to hone your English skills, refine your college study skills, and get to know members of the campus community before other students arrive during the fall rush on campus.”

Rolling out the welcome mat

The centerpiece of the International Student Summer Institute is a three-credit English as a Second Language course that meets Mondays through Fridays for two hours a day. Students engage with UW-Madison instructors and fellow students, growing comfortable in the atmosphere of an American classroom.

International students will live in DeJope Hall on the beautiful UW-Madison lakeshore. (Bryce Richter/UW-Madison)

“Our faculty teach the International Student Summer Institute with the highest level of academic rigor,” says Sandy Arfa, director of UW-Madison’s English as a Second Language program. “We work hard to make sure students have the communications skills they need to meet their goals in the classroom and beyond.”

But all work and no play would make for a dull summer, so the International Student Summer Institute helps students develop a social network before the demands of fall semester kick in. They get to know each other through planned workshops, recreational events, and visits to Madison attractions.

In a three-credit English as a Second Language course, international students will grow comfortable in the atmosphere of an American classroom.

“The program rolls out the welcome mat for international students,” says Sarah Barber, assistant dean of Summer Term at UW-Madison. “It allows them to make a smooth transition to academic life and learn about campus resources before others arrive for fall semester. Most importantly, it helps them build strong connections with friends and instructors that will sustain them in this new environment.”

Lakeshore living

Participants in the International Student Summer Institute will live in DeJope Hall, a modern residence hall on the beautiful UW-Madison lakeshore. The total cost for the program is $5,875, which includes tuition, fees, housing, dining, and classroom materials.

The registration deadline for the International Student Summer Institute is May 22. To learn more or to register, see here. Call 001-608-890-3003 or email summer@dcs.wisc.edu with questions.