Summer school for free: how did this EUR student do that?

Maureen Bastiaans and Dick Verbeek

A dream has come true for EUR student Mareen Bastiaans. This summer she will attend an intensive three-week undergraduate course at the London School of Economics. How did she manage to get in for free, when a course normally costs over £2,000?

The LSE Summer School, based on regular undergraduate courses taught at the London School of Economics, is the largest university summer school in Europe. To do a course here is a lifetime opportunity but the cost could be a serious drawback, since for a three-week session a student pays £2100. Add the airfare and room rent, and you know this is a seriously costly business.

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So how did International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics (IBEB) student Mareen Bastiaans get to do this course without paying a penny – with even her flight and rent covered?

‘One day I got an e-mail from my department asking me if I was interested in attending summer school at LSE,' she explains. 'Well, who wouldn’t be? The year before I had attended an honours class and was one of the students that got a letter of recommendation from the dean. To apply for summer school I had to write a personal statement. That and my grades got me a scholarship. The rest was made possible with the financial support of alumnus Dick Verbeek. He is paying my fees, travel, and living expenses. It was quite a surprise, and I am very very happy. I have enrolled in the course "Development in the international political economy"’.

Special summer break
More and more universities throughout the world are organising summer school programmes these days. What initially started out as an opportunity for enrolled students to re-do a course in which they’d failed the exam, or a chance to take some extra classes during the summer, has now developed into special programmes open to students from all over the world.

During the summer break students have the opportunity to take classes in one or more subjects and participate in social activities. School programmes can either have a thematic nature, in which the courses are all related to a certain topic – like the European Union, for example – or they grant students the option to pick courses from a variety of disciplines.

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Some schools even offer online classes in summer, like Berkeley:

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