UKIC / Office of China Initiatives / Academies


What is a summer academy?

Guided by current UK Faculty members, students have the opportunity to practice English reading, writing listening and speaking in a hands-on, interactive environment while learning about and experiencing U.S. and Kentucky culture firsthand.

Academies are designed to meet the needs of Chinese students as determined by a collaboration between University of Kentucky and faculty at our partner universities. At the end of each summer academy, students are given the opportunity to take a guided East Coast tour. With visits to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and Columbia University, students will be exposed to some of the best institutions the U.S. has to offer.

Some of our previous summer academies have focused on English language skills, public speaking and debate, horseback riding, chemistry and more.

Previously Offered Summer Academy Themes:

Public Speaking

The UK High School Summer Public Speaking & Debate Camp offered by UK Intercollegiate Debate provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how to utilize research strategies and collect evidence to craft arguments in a cross-cultural environment. The Office of China Initiatives works with Intercollegiate Debate to recruit high school student applicants from China to participate in this camp, for which no prior experience is required. Furthermore, an optional English placement test is available for participants from China, so that camp instructors can tailor activities to their language needs. Through a combination of labs and guest lectures, students will learn how to analyze and adapt to various audiences by developing speech content appropriate to different contexts and settings. Additionally, the opportunity for students to engage with high school campers from Kentucky will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity, thereby enhancing all students' skill sets in communication. Ultimately, this camp experience helps strengthen students' confidence to effectively deliver their arguments to diverse, live and distant audiences.

English Language

The UK Office of China Initiatives & University of Kentucky Confucius Institute offers an English language summer academy to practice reading, writing, listening and speaking. Instructors from the UK Department of English will present lessons tailored to your needs to help you improve your skills in reading and writing English. These classes will support your development of skills useful in academic and professional life, such as in completing American university or internship applications. Speaking and listening comprehension are also essential parts of academic and professional life, such as interviews with American universities or for a future job at the international level. This class will help strengthen your listening and speaking skills, while deepening your understanding of American culture. 

Horseback Riding

The Horseback Riding Academy provides students opportunities to learn about the horse, how to ride horses, about life as an American college student, and about American culture.  Students will learn both English and Western riding styles, how to groom a horse, terms and care for tack (saddle, bridle, etc.). Field trips to Keeneland Race Track, Kentucky Horse Park and a horse medicine and rehabilitation center will enhance the overall experience and expose students to unique parts of Kentucky heritage.  


Academies in specific concentrations can be offered if our partner Chinese Universities show high demand from students. A previously offered academy in Chemistry featured chemistry and math classes from experienced University of Kentucky faculty. During this academy students will have the opportunity to focus on science and technology while improving their English, written and oral.