International Summer School of Science in Požega

Katarina Anđelković

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International summer school of science - illustrative image

June 7, 2023 – An international Summer School of Science is taking place in Požega. The project, organized by Education Outside the Box, has gathered many motivated high school students from all over the world for more than two decades. Under the guidance of young scientists from the world’s leading scientific institutions, students can participate in exciting projects, thus developing their enthusiasm for knowledge and discoveries.

This year, as Poslovni writes, the Summer School of Science will take place in Požega from July 23 to August 13. Its participants will learn about science and STEM fields through projects in experimental biology, psychology, astronomy, and computer science.

Scientists from prestigious institutions such as EPFL Lausanne in Switzerland and Oxford and Stanford Universities are preparing lectures. There are two camps – S3, which will take place from July 23 to August 2 and is for students finishing the 1st or 2nd grade of elementary school, and S3++, for students completing the 3rd or 4th grade of high school. The latter will take place from August 3 to 13.

Relaxed and Friendly Atmosphere of the summer school of Science

Considering that the school is open to high school students worldwide, its official language is English. So far, students and mentors from many countries attended it. To name a few, it was Brazil, USA, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, India, South Korea, Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia… Applications for the school are open until June 12, and there are no special conditions for participation.

The requirements to apply include a motivational letter and the application form. After the applications are closed, the students are invited to a casual interview. It assesses their English level necessary to follow events at the school and discuss some interesting topics. The selection process follows, after which the participants are invited to the camp.

During school, students work on ten-day projects whose goal is to present scientific work in miniature. In this process, young scientists guide them, mostly Ph.D. students, who provide them with support, assign tasks, and solve problems with them. It is all done in a relaxed and friendly working atmosphere.

The program is dense and intensive but not filled exclusively with work. In addition to working on projects and lectures, various fun activities take place, such as playing board games, evening quizzes, treasure hunts, and day trips.

Former students form a rich alumni community that provides networking opportunities with peers and potential mentors from around the world and from various fields.

The summer school was created in Višnjan in 2001 to expand the field of interest from astronomy to STEM in general. However, it has existed in its current format since 2013, when it moved to Požega. In the new Požega high school premises, it has been hosting many projects and, thus, participants.

the history and format of the summer school of Science

In previous years, the school took place in a fairly consistent format. Wach camp took in 20 to 25 participants. It was led by five project leaders (doctoral students and young scientists). They had help from five leaders of the so-called swap shop workshop (students). Moreover, four to six lecturers (professors, award-winning scientists, etc.) would also participate.

During all previous editions of the school, more than 900 people directly participated in the programs. The ratio of local and foreign participants varied from year to year. On average, though, about 40 percent of participants were from Croatia and 60 percent from other, primarily European countries. Last year, the ratio was roughly reversed, given the restrictions due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.

Based on previous applications and inquiries this year, the organizers expect an equal number of local and foreign participants. This year’s edition of the school will occur at a new location in Požega – the Faculty of Tourism and Rural Development. In addition to the change of location, this year’s participants will have more opportunities to get to know Požega. They will also offer the residents of Požega something in return.

The Požega City Library will host the final presentations of the participants’ projects and one of the lectures at the S3 camp. All lectures are open to the public and go live on the school’s YouTube channel. In addition, the idea of an open day was renewed. On the day, all those interested are invited to get an insight into the participants’ experience. They can do so by participating in swap shop workshops for one afternoon.

Youth for Youth

Laura Besak is one of the organizers of the Summer School. She points out that it is an example of an initiative to nurture for many years to come. “I had the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a participant at the S3 camp. There I built lifelong friendships and created opportunities that still help me develop my career today.

Now, when I have the opportunity to observe such experiences in the making, I am even more convinced that the Summer School is a gem of science and scientific communication – from young people for young people”, Laura Busak believes. Luka Korov also participates in the organization. He notes that he accepted the opportunity knowing how similar camps helped him in his elementary and high school days.

“Despite preparations that last almost the whole year, seeing how much that ten-day adventure can mean to motivated high school students from various parts of the world is simply priceless. I am happy that, unlike the previous organizers, the younger participants can identify with us more easily. They can contact us more freely with doubts about their scientific path, ” said Korov.


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