International Institutes — Program Overview

Stanford Pre-Collegiate International Institutes provides motivated pre-collegiate students an extraordinary American college-life experience on Stanford University’s campus. Held in collaboration with education organizations, this two-week summer program breaks the mold of the traditional classroom with curricula and methodologies that engage participants in a transformative educational experience.

International Institutes Highlights

This intellectually challenging program encourages participants to develop skills in problem solving, collaborative work, and critical and creative thinking.
Daily Workshops
By attending daily workshops on multiple topics, participants get the opportunity to discover new interests and expand their horizons.
Team-Building
Participants practice building a global community through academic activities, such as the multinational team-based Global Solutions Project.
Global Community
Through the fun-filled Multicultural Exhibition, participants share their countries’ culture and history while learning about other countries.
American Experiences
Participants hear what it’s like to work in Silicon Valley at the Entrepreneurs Panel and get to attend a major-league sporting event.

Hear from Our Students

An American College Experience

Participants will gain knowledge about the U.S. college admissions process, learn how to create a college portfolio, and discover resources available to international students at U.S. universities.

College Life

This program is a great opportunity for international students to experience two weeks on a U.S. university campus. Participants live on campus in dorms that Stanford students reside in during the academic year and are exposed to the American classroom through an eclectic series of workshops.

College Admissions

At the Admissions Talk and College Panel, participants gain knowledge about the U.S. college admissions process, learn how to create a college portfolio, and discover resources available to international students at U.S. universities. They also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about admissions at these events.

Academic Enrichment

Exploratory Workshops

This program encourages participants to develop skills in problem solving, collaborative work, and critical and creative thinking through an eclectic series of workshops. Participants attend these workshops in small groups of 12–15. Each group is assigned. Each group is assigned a balance of science, technology, humanities, arts and leadership development topics.

Our workshops are exploratory in nature and are taught in a seminar-style setting that emphasizes participation, interaction, communication, and developing critical thinking skills. Instructors bring their particular areas of expertise to provide insight into a variety of academic and professional fields.

Entrepreneurs Panel

Organized and moderated by a Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies lead instructor, this panel event brings Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to campus for an on-stage, guided discussion. Panelists typically include a social entrepreneur, a small-business entrepreneur, and a large-company entrepreneur, each selected by the instructor to ensure students hear a variety of perspectives on business and creative leadership. Past panelists range from the founder of an international tea company to Google employees charged with developing new ideas.

Global Citizenship

While weekdays are chalkful of enriching and educational workshops, evening and weekend activities are designed to engage participants’ extracurricular interests and intercultural competency. Our dedicated team of counselors and staff organizes activities, ranging from arts and crafts to sports and local excursions.
Participants from different countries gather to watch performances during the Multicultural Exhibition

Multicultural Exhibition

This evening event that serves as a platform for participants from different countries to interact, learn about other cultures and customs, and create lifelong bonds. Leading up to the event, participants from each country work together as as a group, preparing displays, snacks, games, and other cultural aspects to share at the event. In past years, students have performed dance routines, recited poetry, and sang national songs from their respective countries.
Staff member standing in front of trees

Global Solutions Project

In this capstone project, participants are divided into multi-country cohorts to solve world problems by collaborating to develop a country. Participants leverage key learnings from workshops, such as design thinking methodology, as they work in teams to tackle international issues. During this project, participants learn about diversity among global communities, explore key global problems, and brainstorm and define potential solutions. At the end of the program, teams present their solutions and are evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of instructors and staff. Each group is rated, scored, and acknowledged with a distinct certificate for their mastery of a particular learning goal.

Lifelong Memories

In addition to experiencing Stanford’s vibrant campus community, participants get to explore Silicon Valley and the surrounding Bay Area through exciting field trips off campus.
Participants go onto the Levi's Stadium field

American Sporting Event

Participants get to attend a U.S. sporting event. Depending on game times, participants will either go to a San Francisco Giants baseball game or a San Jose Earthquakes soccer game. Both sporting events are similar to festivals in that they include a lot of songs and other media. The game gives participants a chance to talk about sports culture in their countries. It’s a truly entertaining experience!
Two participants explore an aquarium at the Cal Academy of Sciences.

San Francisco Tour

During this field trip to San Francisco, students get to visit the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, explore the Pier 39, and learn more about Silicon Valley and the surrounding Bay Area. This field trip may also include a stop at the California Academy of Sciences, the Golden Gate Park, or other notable locations, depending on time.
Participants roast marshmallows in a fire-pit night activity

Firepit Night

During this nighttime, staff-led activity, participants get to explore more of Stanford’s campus as they walk around Lake Lagunita to the fire-pit area. Once they arrive, staff builds a fire and teaches participants how to make s’mores—a traditional campfire treat, popular in the United States and Canada. Participants roast marshmallows and build friendships while also connecting with the staff.

Housing & Dining

Participants experience what it is like to be a Stanford undergraduate by living in campus residences and eating at the dining halls.
A participant uses his keys to enter his room.

Stanford Dormitories

Living in the dormitories used by Stanford undergraduates during the academic school year, participants are exposed to American college life. Typically, each dormitory has its own lounge, computer cluster, laundry facility, and common area. While groups from other countries participate in the program simultaneously, International Institutes staff strives to place each group within a single dormitory. Trained residential staff live in residence and serve as counselors and mentors with the mission of supporting a safe, warm, and inviting residential community.
All of our residences feature rooms with desks and beds for multiple students.

Room Assignments

While dormitories are coed, rooms are assigned by gender, with male and female participants in separate areas, and typically, on separate floors. International Institutes is committed to providing an inclusive, supportive, and comfortable residential environment for all participants, and gender-inclusive housing assignments can be provided. Participants are assigned to either single rooms or to double/triple rooms that are shared with others from the same program. All rooms are equipped with window coverings and furnished with an extra-long twin-size bed for each participant, as well as with desks, chairs, bookcases, dressers, and wardrobe closets. Wireless internet is also available.
Typical dining hall on Stanford campus.

Dining Halls & Meals

Participants eat in Stanford’s cafeteria-style dining halls, which serve a range of healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining halls provide vegetarian and vegan options at every meal and are able to accommodate special dietary needs, such as halal or gluten-free meals. Mid-afternoon snacks are served daily at the residences. Special catered “Cluster Dinners” are typically provided once per week.

Cluster dinners, social activities, and other events were my favorite parts of the camp, as I was able to make friends from other countries, like China, Japan, Cyprus, and the United States.

Participant from the Philippines