International Office Corner: How to Spend Your Summer Break

sea-sky-sunny-beachYou’ve done it! You’ve completed yet another semester and this time your reward is a four-month break. How are you going to spend it? Maybe you want to keep the momentum going by taking classes or interning, or perhaps traveling is in your future. We talked to Laura Chaney, the Director of International Student and Scholar Services at the University of San Francisco, about some of the options international students can consider.

Classes and Internships

There are any number of reasons to take classes, gain work experience with a Curricular Practical Training internship, and start Optional Practical Training over the summer. As an incentive for students to continue taking classes, many colleges offer tuition discounts for summer courses. Check to see if this applies to your college. Generally, summer classes can help international students either get ahead or catch up on course credits. If you took the minimum amount of credits for a semester or two but hope to graduate in four years, taking classes over the summer can help you make up the difference in credits. This is also a great time to get core requirements out of the way, leaving you with more flexibility when scheduling your classes for the fall or spring terms.


With the arrival of the warmer summer months, you may be looking to enjoy your time off exploring a new city, taking a cruise, camping in the mountains, or lounging on a beach. Summer vacation is a great time to travel, with the Bahamas and Puerto Rico being popular destinations for international students. According to Chaney, many travelers actually decide to travel both domestically and internationally during their break. Regardless, review your immigration documents—this way, you’ll be covered in case you do any unplanned or last-minute travel.


If you’re going to remain in town over your break, depending on your college, you may need to look for housing. Some schools only offer on-campus living during the fall and spring semesters, so you might need to live off campus. Look for a summer rental or sublet ahead of time, and keep in mind pricing and location. Students who are used to living on-campus are often insulated from off-campus costs for items like food, and may find prices jarring. Also, the grocery store will probably not be as close by as the college’s dining hall was, but if you take this into account ahead of time, you may be able to find housing either close to necessities or along a public transportation route.

These are just some of many options available to you for summer break. With a little bit of planning, you can even divide up your summer to take classes and travel!

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