Immersive International Studies Summer Institute


Track 1: July 12 - July 16, 2021
Track 2: July 19 - July 23, 2021
Two Week Online Program



Join us this summer for our Immersive International Studies Summer Institute, two consecutive week-long intensive programs for high school students who are interested in international issues, history, government, and role-play utilizing the innovative pedagogy of Reacting to the Past (“Reacting”). Reacting is a series of immersive historical role-playing games that explore important ideas by re-creating the contexts that shaped them. Students assume the roles of historical characters, bringing their character alive in order to explore pivotal moments in history, informed by texts set in particular moments of intellectual and social ferment. Students actively engage in their own learning and receive guidance to develop a diverse skill set such as persuasive speaking, critical thinking, research skills, problem-solving, teamwork, expository writing, and leadership skills.

Students who successfully complete each 1-week program will receive 2 units of Pass/No Pass University of California credit.

Track Descriptions

International & Area Studies 10: Immersive International Studies explores key international events through a vibrant and engaging immersive curriculum. Active learning is incorporated to develop an understanding of international issues as well as a diverse skill set, such as persuasive speaking, critical thinking, research skills, problem solving, teamwork, expository writing, and leadership skills.

Each Immersive International Studies Summer Institute allows for the exploration of key international events through an in-depth approach to specific moments in history in order to gain a complex understanding of the issues of that time. For Summer 2021, we will be offering the following Immersive International Studies modules:

Track 1: Confucianism and the Ming Court, 1587

Students will become members of the Grand Secretariat in Ming China. The secretariat, also known as the Hanlin Academy, is the Wanli Emperor’s trusted inner circle of advisors and provides guidance to the emperor on all governmental matters. Students who participate in the Confucianism and the Succession Crisis module will step into 1587 Ming China and become versed in the Confucian Analects and debate proper moral virtues befitting a proper gentleman. Students will shoulder the immense responsibilities as the Wanli Emperor, the First Grand Secretary, or other Grand Secretaries who may have different interpretations of Confucianism, but all of whom believe in the immense responsibilities that come with their position.

The Grand Secretariat is divided in 1587 when the emperor decides to appoint as his successor – not his first-born son -- a third-born son by his favorite concubine. Will the Grand Secretariat support the emperor’s decision or maintain proper order and advocate for the first-born son’s succession? How will the central government deal with irrigation of the Yellow River so there is equitable distribution of water for its citizens? How can taxes be levied to pay for government expenses while also being fair to the people? How can government forces deal with banditry, especially in the frontier lands? What is the best way to manage the civil service examinations to appoint government officials? Is the eunuch system ready for an overhaul or perhaps even abolition?

The “Purists” among the secretariat believe that the emperor is duty-bound to appoint his first son, but others interpret the Analects more loosely and believe the emperor should have more authority to make his own decision. Individual secretaries also have their own concerns and goals to maintain the strength and stability of Ming China. The Grand Secretaries will have three audiences with the emperor and write informed memorials to sway the emperor and other Grand Secretaries to agree with them.


Track 2: Japan, Pan-Asianism and the West, 1940-41

Students will take on roles in the Japanese Army, Navy, and Imperial Court between September 1940 and end of 1941. Three years into the war with China, Japan is facing economic sanctions from the United States, which has been sending aid to China. Japan faces difficult choices between continuing in the war and maintaining good relations with the US for necessary natural resources. Students will use various sources extant in 1940-1941 to analyze the historical situation to devise and present logical arguments supported by evidence to gain support for their individual and faction goals.

Students will engage with issues such as:

  • How compatible are Western ideas such as rationalism, individualism, capitalism, and democracy with Japanese tradition such as Confucianism, bushido, and Shintō?
  • Will a unilateral policy that emphasizes military action and economic self-sufficiency, or a trade-based policy that stresses international cooperation be a better course in foreign affairs?
  • Which is Japan’s greatest enemy—western imperialism, or communism?
  • Is the war in China being fought according to pan-Asianist principles, orr is Japan behaving more like an imperial power in East Asia?


Program Eligibility

To participate for the Immersive International Studies Summer Institute, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • 14 years of age or older prior to June 21, 2021
  • Enrolled in grades 8th – 12th during Spring 2021

Students who do not meet the minimum program requirements should not register and should consider other summer opportunities.

How to Register

Registration for the Immersive International Studies Summer Institute can be done conveniently online using the steps below.

  1. Access the Summer Institute Online Registration Form starting February 15. Read all terms and conditions, then scroll to the bottom and “Continue to Registration”.
  2. Complete the first page of the online registration form by answering all mandatory questions, then, select “Continue” at the end of the first page.
  3. Provide responses to all questions on the second page of the online registration form, then “Submit”.
  4. Once your form is submitted, you will be redirected to the retrieve registration page, where you can select “Pay Now” to proceed with payment of the non-refundable registration fee . Continue with the payment instructions to reserve your space in the program.

A space in the program is not reserved for you until valid payment of the non-refundable registration fee* is completed. Those who are not prepared to pay after program acceptance can submit their registration form, log out, and retrieve registration at another time to make payment, however you risk losing a space in the program if program reaches capacity prior to the ability to pay. An email with instructions to retrieve registration will be sent within an hour of submitting your registration.

This fee is not refundable under any circumstances including, but not limited to, drop for non-payment and withdrawal, even if you withdraw from the program before it begins.

If the program is full, you will not be prompted to make payment. When your application is accepted from the wait list, you will be notified by email with instructions for methods of payment.

If registering after May 1, full payment of all fees including the non-refundable registration fee but excluding any applicable document and IEI fees is required to reserve your space in the program.

How to Make Registration Changes

Already submitted the online registration form but need to make a change or finish your registration? You can easily do so by retrieving your registration. To retrieve registration, please complete the steps below:

  1. Access the Summer Institute Retrieve Registration Form here.
  2. You will need your five-digit registration number that was sent to your email address. Fill out the form, then “Submit”.












Program Dates

JULY 12 - JULY 16, 2021

JULY 19 - JULY 23, 2021

Important Dates

FEBRUARY 15 - APRIL 1: Summer Scholars Support for California High School Students Application Period

FEBRUARY 15: Registration Opens

MAY 1: Payment due in full

JUNE 15: Refund Deadline - Refund Deadline for Summer Institutes

JULY 12-16: Immersive International Studies Summer Institute: Track 1

JULY 19-23: Immersive International Studies Summer Institute: Track 2

UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.