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International Student Team


What is IARU GSP?

The International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), of which Cambridge is a member, has been collaborating on many levels for several years now and has since 2008 offered a Global Summer Programme (GSP) - open to Cambridge undergraduate and graduate students. The IARU GSP will be offering 22 GSP courses to the 11 IARU partners as part of the upcoming 2017 summer mobility programme. Some of the Institutions involved waive their tuition fees for incoming students, and some funding is available for Cambridge students going to other IARU GSP institutions; Santander scholarships of up to US$2,000 (c £1250) are available on a needs basis. Students are also encouraged to seek funding from other sources.

How to apply to the Cambridge GSP

For information on the Cambridge programme, including how to apply, please visit the Institute of Continuing Education.

How and when to apply to any of the GSP Programmes if you are a Cambridge student

Please visit the GSP course website for each institution (see below) to receive details on the available courses in 2017 and then complete the application form which can be found on the IARU GSP website.

GSP 2017 applications for the programmes are open on 12 December 2016, and applications from Cambridge students for any of the programmes (including the Cambridge programme) should be sent between 12 December 2016 and 17 March 2017 electronically to: and

Any queries relating to the application process should be sent to Laura Aston


Global Summer Programme Poster 2017



Australian National University

ANU1: Mobilising Research

UC Berkeley

UCB1: Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program

UCB2: Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness

University of Cambridge

CAM1: Visions of the future

University of Cape Town

UCT1: Sustainable Water Management in Africa

University of Copenhagen

COP1: Cultural Rights: A Promising Global Discourse?

COP2: Interdisciplinary Aspects of Healthy Ageing

COP3: New Urban Life Across the Globe: Activism and Change in a World of Cities

ETH Zurich

ETH1: Mountain Forests and Risk Management

University of Oxford

OXF1: Global Challenges of the 21st Centry- Environmental, Technological and Urban Sustainability

Peking University, Beijing

PKU1: Introduction to Chinese Economy

PKU2: The Rise of China and Change in the World Politics

PKU3: Understanding Chinese Foreign Policy Making

PKU4: Silk Road: A Global History

National University of Singapore

NUS1: Southeast Asia in Context

NUS2: Animals in the City

The University of Tokyo

TOK1: Introduction to the Japanese Language

TOK2: Sustainable Urban Management

TOK3: Japan in Today's World

TOK4: Nanoscience


YAL1: The Sustainable Preservation of Cultural Heritage

YAL2: Future of Food: Environment, Health, and Law

Feedback from Cambridge students who have previously attended the IARU GSP:

Matthew Choy, attended the University of Copenhagen in 2016

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to participate in this course.  Ageing is a complicated phenomenon that impacts all aspects of our society.  At Copenhagen I was able to work with people from different backgrounds and disciplines, not only learning more about this important topic but also working together to propose ways by which we can promote healthy ageing via medical and social interventions. Moreover, I gained many skills that will be relevant in my future medical career and have made a strong network of friends.  The course is led by true giants in the field and will not disappoint.

I would advise all candidates with a month free in the summer to apply.  It is a fantastic way to cultivate oneself academically and culturally via experiencing life and studies in another country.  I would say that the top tip is to keep an open mind.  Be approachable and friendly; take advantage of what there is to offer

Ziqing Liew, attended the University of Tokyo in 2016

Joining the Sustainable Urban Management in UTokyo is definitely one of the best summer experience that I had! What I appreciated the most is the friendship that I fostered; I was not just able to hold prolonged and deep conversations with some of the best minds across the globe, but also to travel in Japan with these lovely people.


For those taking TOK programme, I would strongly recommend a hiking trip up Mount Fuji as it only allows amateurs hikers during summer. However, do not undermine the frozen gust of wind up at the top, hence bring some warm windproof jacket and good pairs of hiking shoes if you would like to get to the top safely for the sunrise!


Talia Shmool, attended ETH Zurich in 2016


I had a very good experience on the program. I had learnt a lot, and since it was a small group of students it provided an opportunity for forming close friendships. The course organizers were dedicated and welcoming, the accommodations were comfortable and the food was made based on local homemade Swiss recipes. In this particular program we had a combination of in-class lectures and field work. One of my favourite days was an expedition to the Alps, where we went hiking and learnt about the agriculture and climate in that environment. This experience benefited me in that it allowed me to travel and learn about a subject I am interested in, in an unconventional way. It was also a nice break from my field of focus. Several tips I have are: to be open minded about the experience and to be outgoing. You are placed in an environment where every other person is passionate and interested in the same subject, so there is always something to talk about. The main tip I have is to break out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself to try new things, and build connections with the people around you.  All in all, it was a good learning experience and people were content. I have no hesitation in encouraging students to attend this course in the future


Junaid Hussain, attended the University of Tokyo in 2016


In summer 2016 I attended the IARU programme at the University of Tokyo. It was an amazing experience, bringing together students from all over the world to explore a fascinating new culture. As a language-lover, the introduction to Japanese was particularly rewarding, and studying Sustainable Urban Management alongside these experiences was also very interesting, as there was a relevant focus on the development and history of Tokyo as a city. With Tokyo as a backdrop to all of this, there were plenty of chances to put our (very new!) language skills to use, and to see for ourselves what we had learnt in the SUM classroom. The programme organisers were very welcoming, and despite being in a new and unfamiliar environment, everything from accommodation to study trips was well-organised and helped us to make the most of our time in Japan. One of the really great aspects of IARU summer schools is that each one forms part of an international network: we were studying alongside students from countries ranging from Denmark and the US to Australia and China. Together we quickly formed a close-knit group, exploring Japan together and forging friendships that have lasted well beyond the programme, including visits to each other's home countries and universities. I'd absolutely recommend applying for a place on a 2017 programme, whether in Tokyo or another place of personal interest to you - there's no limit on what you'll be able to get out of the course, and with ample free time included in the schedule, there's plenty of scope for the experience to be whatever you make of it!


Zhen Du, attended the University of Tokyo in 2016

IARU GSP provided me with a great opportunity to experience different cultures and communicate with peers from diverse backgrounds. I took a two-week course in the University of Tokyo (TOK4 nanoscience) - the course was well organised and structured and covered a wide range of topics from basic science to engineering. I was especially impressed by the cultural events where we learned about Japanese tea culture and the tours to the research & development centre of world-renowned companies such as Fujitsu. Tokyo is a fantastic place for food lovers and you will be amazed by the beautiful scene at Mount Fuji (hiking)!

IARU - Santander Scholarships for the Global Summer Programme

As part of their social responsibility programme, Banco Santander is partnering IARU in awarding scholarships to students attending the IARU Global Summer Programme. The University is able to award USD 20,000 in scholarships from Santander. They will be awarded to students based on the level of costs for their GSP course.

You are not required to apply for a scholarship. Your need will be discussed with you should you be shortlisted and invited to attend an interview in Cambridge.