Summer School Program

Study key texts from the western tradition while making lifelong friends who share your passion for reading and the humanities.

The Western Civilisation Program Summer School is a 3-day academic retreat for high school students going into Years 11 and 12 who have an interest in the liberal arts and humanities.

Led by ACU’s Western Civilisation Program academics, students will engage in critical discussions about great books of the western tradition, gaining invaluable critical thinking, communication, and reading skills – all while having fun and meeting like-minded students.

The Summer School will include:

  • lectures and discussions
  • Year 12 exam and study skills workshops
  • games, activities, socialising and more

This program is excellent preparation for your Year 12 exams and university study.

Come along and get an insight into what it’s like to study ACU’s Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation), and hear from current students about their experience of the program.

Summer School Program 2023

Our inaugural Summer School will be held from Wednesday, 18 – Friday, 20 January 2023. The program is fully funded and open to students in Years 11 and 12 from across Australia. Places are limited with registration closing on Thursday, 1 December 2022.

The Summer School is run by ACU’s Western Civilisation Program academics. Staff will be present during the entire program of events and will be stationed at the accommodation to provide supervision and support to students.

Event details

When: Wednesday, 18 – Friday, 20 January 2023

Who: High school students in Years 11 and 12

Where: ACU North Sydney Campus and Benedict XVI Retreat Centre (Grose Vale, NSW, 2753)

Cost: Fully funded by ACU. There is no cost to attend. All costs, including meals and accommodation, are covered.

What’s included? Workshops, sessions, meals, accommodation and more. View our draft program below.


Day 1: Wednesday, 18 January 2023


Arrival and welcome at ACU North Sydney 

Introductory lecture 


Games and afternoon tea including a tour of ACU Western Civilisation Program facilities 

Travel via coach to the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre


Dinner and free time 

Evening discussion of texts 

Day 2: Thursday, 19 January 2023



Talk and discussion session 

Morning tea 

Interactive activity 



Talk and discussion session 

Afternoon tea 

Activities and free time 


Dinner and film night 

Day 3: Thursday, 20 January 2023



Talk and discussion session 

Morning tea 

Year 12 study skills workshop 



Text discussion activity 

Travel by coach to ACU North Sydney 

Conclusion of Summer School 

Parents and guardians are welcome to attend the opening session on Wednesday, 18 January, from 12:30pm to 2:45pm, at ACU North Sydney.

Highly motivated students going into Years 11 and 12 in 2023 from across Australia are encouraged to apply.
Registration closes on 1 December 2022. ACU will contact applicants by early December 2022 to advise the outcome of their application.

If you would like to attend the Summer School, please complete the Register your Interest Form. We will review your application and contact you to let you know if you are successful or not. All successful applicants will receive further information. As part of the application process, we will also contact a referee or teacher who can confirm your school participation and interest in reading and humanities.

The Summer School will commence on Wednesday, 18 January 2023 at 12:30pm at ACU’s North Sydney campus. After the first session on campus, leaders and participants will travel by coach to the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre (Grose Vale, NSW) for the remainder of the event, before returning by coach to ACU North Sydney for pick up on Friday, 20 January at approximately 4.30pm.

Students are required to arrange their own transportation to and from the ACU North Sydney campus at their own expense. Travel bursaries are available for students who live more than 500km from Sydney.

You will stay at the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre (Grose Vale, NSW). Each student will be allocated a shared room with 2 – 3 other participants (separate male and female) with attached bathroom. Private rooms are available in special circumstances. (Contact program coordinator for further information).

We will be in touch with all successful applicants prior to the event to arrange any dietary, medical, or other requirements.

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