With the days growing longer and hopes of warm weather ahead, you may be dreaming of summer plans – lounging on the beach, leaping into a pool or, for a change of pace, jumping into an intense learning experience at a post-secondary school near you.

Many institutions offer concentrated arts courses geared toward students who wish to earn extra credit or simply tackle a topic of special interest. Here’s a sampling. Unless otherwise noted, call the school or visit the institution’s website for further details.

• University of British Columbia Continuing Studies has an extensive range of summer programming with a full suite of summer language courses, including three one-week programs new this summer that focus on French, Spanish and Chinese through cinema. There are also two new French cuisine courses – one in English that focuses on light meals for summer days, another in French aimed at francophones – and two wine appreciation courses for anglophones and francophones. A variety of writing courses, including songwriting and book illustration, will also be offered. For information, see cstudies.ubc.ca.

• At University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, a variety of first-year university-credit courses are being offered in Theatre, Creative Writing and Visual Art. As well, a new Spanish Summer Field School allows students to dive into community service learning abroad by supporting Mayan community development projects in partnership with Mexico's Quintana Roo University. For those with an interest in travelling and volunteering in Eastern Europe, real-life learning opportunities are available through the Eastern Europe at a Crossroads: Romania and Bulgaria course.

• Trinity Western University offers several week-long special interest arts course including retreats for photography, psychology and spirituality, two- and three-week travel studies to Cameroon, Guatemala and Honduras, Israel, Kenya and Uganda, London, Ottawa, Zambia and Salt Spring Island. Students can also earn university credit before the fall semester begins during "University Week at Camp" on the shores of Lake Okanagan, studying Photography, Concepts of PE, Contemporary Ethical Issues, Intro to Political Science and History of Canada: Post-Confederation.

• Capilano University has several media-focused summer programs, including Animation Fundamentals or Computer Animation and Visual Effects (two-month courses) Foundations in Illustration and Design (10 week), Grip Work for Digital Imaging and Film or Lighting for Digital Imaging and Film (both one-month fast-tracking courses.)

• Kwantlen Polytechnic University has May/June offerings in Art History, English, Fine Arts, Japanese, Linguistics, Mandarin, Philosophy and Spanish. In the July/August session, students can study History, Humanities, Japanese and Psychology.

• Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s Summer Institute for Teens aged 15 to18 is a challenging four-week art experience, ideal for students who are serious about pursuing post-secondary studies in art, design or media. Emily Carr is also offering a Design Institute this summer, with courses and events focused on emerging and professional design in Vancouver.

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