Whether you are from a culture renowned for being expressive, or from a country where quietness and being reserved are more the norm, at summer school it’s perfectly normal to potentially feel a bit overwhelmed.

Meeting crowds of new people, speaking up in class, and presenting to your peers are challenges which don’t come naturally to everyone.

And as such, summer school can pose a real test of character, which is a huge part of what makes it so special.

With such a strong focus on social skills and public speaking, it would be easy to assume that the summer school experience is designed for those more extroverted in nature.

The opposite is true.

The unique magic of summer school is that it takes you out of your comfort zone in the most supportive and nurturing way and is designed to help you feel more confident in sharing your ideas, working alongside others, and feeling more comfortable in your own skin when meeting new people.

Essentially, as a global learning community, we’re all in it together, and to help build your confidence levels before summer school starts, we have put together a list of tips to help make summer school that little bit easier.

Now, let’s begin with the scariest.

Practice Public Speaking

If you have a fear of public speaking you are certainly not alone, as it’s believed that three quarters of the earth’s population are also affected by Glossophobia.

So, what is there you can do to make this very common human fear just that little bit less scary?

Firstly, the last thing you should ever be afraid of is the sound of your own voice and doing something as small as reading aloud memes off your phone, funny messages, or lines from articles to family and friends is a start in practising sharing aloud in front of others.

How you practice, is entirely down to your personality and ultimately what works best for you. Some people try presenting in front of a mirror, others prefer not, and in the digital age many test themselves by filming themselves and watching it back, or by audio recordings.

Ultimately, whichever you decide you can’t go wrong.

Taking part in guided meditations will help you to keep a regular breathing pattern, and to help you relax and to take your time when you speak aloud.

Nothing can make you forget your inhibitions more, than genuine passion and interest. If you are totally consumed and knowledgeable about what you’re talking about, then the speaking part really will take care of itself. Saying that first sentence is the hardest part.

If you love videogames, a certain sport, or a particular writer or musical instrument then why not share that passion and knowledge somehow? And if you feel comfortable, why not even go as far as sharing it with others?

Whatever you try, the biggest thing to take reassurance from is that most people find public speaking scary, and that most people whilst watching you, feel nothing but respect, or even ‘I wish I could do what you’re doing.’

As with most anxieties, it’s not the doing, it’s the thought of doing, and finding any means possible to practice public speaking is going to help make that anxiety less.

You’ve got this.

Set Personal Goals

Goal setting is very motivating, and even by setting what may feel like the most minor goal, is going to help build confidence, especially if you follow it through.

Before your first week at SBC, look out the window, scan the horizon and think specifically about personal goals which are going to help you get the most out of your summer.

And once you have them, write them down.

If your long-term goal is to be more confident in public speaking, or to feel more confident in taking part in group discussion or to learn more about a potential career path, why not try SMART goals?

S – Specific

When setting a target, be specific about what you want to achieve. Focus on this as the mission statement for your goal.

M – Measurable

What criteria will you use to measure your progress towards the goal? Because it gives you a tool to track your progress, this helps a goal become more real.

A – Achievable

This focuses on how important a goal is to you and what you can do to make it achievable. It could also require learning new skills and adopting fresh mindsets. The intent is to encourage inspiration and not discouragement.

R – Relevant

Relevance refers to focusing on something that makes sense with your wider goals. For example, if your goal is to improve a certain skill, it should be something that connects to your overall objectives.

T – Time-Bound

Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed. Providing personal deadlines is important.

Try New Things

The gift of summer school is that it really is the most welcoming of invites to try new things, and the last thing you want to feel when you’re on the plane home is the regret that you didn’t take advantage of everything on offer.

Maybe back home, you’re part of different teams, belong to different societies and are seen and treated by classmates in a particular way.

At summer school the slate is clean, and as the Japanese saying goes….A person is whatever room they are in. Your past is far far away, and it can be the most liberating thing to find new passions and interests with the purpose of discovering more about yourself.

For example, maybe you’re tall for your age and were pushed into taking up certain sports early, and deep down you have an artistic side that you want to explore.

Or maybe, you’re naturally quite quiet and reflective and want to verbalize potential leadership qualities that people back home perhaps don’t normally get to see.

Being told encouraging things is one helpful part of building self-confidence, but nothing grows it more than surprising yourself, and it’s always win-win. If a sport, activity, food, or new subject isn’t for you, then you really won’t know unless you’ve given it a try.

And summer school is the perfect place to try something new.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

One of the biggest factors in how we can quickly shrink self-confidence as opposed to helping it grow, is how we talk to and about ourselves.

Positive self-talk can take many forms. Perhaps in your mind you are extremely self-critical, and when things don’t go as planned, you lack patience and even resort to talking in a way that’s not too dissimilar to a bully.

When talking about yourself, if you’re quick to using negative self-talk then it can restrict your confidence and limit your ability to act more confidently.

Before summer school, why not monitor how you are talking to and about yourself and notice the difference in how you feel in your body when you are being more forgiving and approving, instead of potentially the opposite.

Positive self-talk is a huge ally in helping self-confidence grow, and through even something as simple as starting the day with saying self-affirmations such as:

  •   I am confident.
  •   I am getting better and better every day.
  •   All I need is within me right now.

You’re going to be better equipped to deal with the exciting challenges of summer school.

Plan Ahead

To help remove any anxiety from the unknown, doing what you can to plan ahead can always help.

At summer school you’re going to have long days packed with lessons and activities, and will spend long spells away from your rooms. So, packing power banks for phones will help you to be charged up so that don’t need to look for a charger.

Packing a lightweight waterproof coat along with t-shirts, hoodies, and a jumper will help to cover for all different types of weather. Not to mention, comfortable footwear.

And there’s certainly no harm in revising your English or doing some general background reading on your course to help you feel further prepared for your academic programmes.


Whatever it is about summer school that you feel less confident about, you can rest assured that with so many other young people in the same situation, and with so many welcoming staff who can’t wait to meet you, that you’ll soon feel at home.

Whether you are nervous about meeting lots of new people or taking part in groupwork, the goal of summer school is for you to be taken out of your comfort zone and for you to develop. Year after year we see students who by the end of their time with us, who are glowing not only from having met wonderful likeminded people, and shared amazing experiences, but because they feel better equipped for the challenges ahead, and that they feel proud of what they have accomplished in only two weeks.