California is more than a state — it’s a state of mind: dynamic, free-thinking, innovative, ecological, and liberal are just some of the adjectives that start to describe the most populous and diverse state in the Union. From the dry Mojave Desert and its iconic Joshua trees, to the Sequoia National Forest filled with the largest living things in the world, to its cosmopolitan cities and endless beaches, there are infinite possibilities for adventure. Be it hiking, celebrity spotting, surfing, dining, snowboarding, inventing, partying, conserving, or simply creating — California is designed for experimentation.
San Diego is the ideal destination for students who want the iconic California experience, complete with fiery sunsets, serene and clean beaches, and a mild climate. Studying in San Diego presents the opportunity to visit tourist attractions in the Los Angeles area without having to confront the quotidian challenges of big-city living, such as hours wasted in gridlock and visible smog. The city of San Diego is split by rolling hills, valleys, coastal cliffs, and Mission Bay into spunky neighborhoods, each with its own character. With three large universities, some neighborhoods, such as Pacific Beach, have a college-town feel with dozens of bars and hundreds of young people.
For students who love to spend time outdoors, San Diego offers the opportunity to be outside almost every day of the year. In the winter, San Diegans go surfing one day and go snowboarding on a local mountain the next. Walking around San Diego, one notices that the pace is slower than in other parts of Southern California. San Diegans look relaxed and happy, and local businesses provide every chance for their customers to be in the sun. Shopping malls are all outdoors, and many restaurants and bars offer patio seating so patrons can bask in the sunshine.
As the southwestern corner of the U.S., San Diego is where cultures, languages, and history intersect. Its proximity to the border gives students an opportunity to experience Mexican culture as well — whether it’s learning about Mexican cuisine, embarking on a day trip to Tijuana, or simply taking the San Diego Trolley to historic Old Town San Diego, which was founded when California was Mexican territory. Students who yearn for more can study Spanish, work with organizations that deal with issues surrounding the complicated border, or pursue advanced courses in Chicano studies or homeland security.
San Diego boasts a strong art scene, and every day there are poetry slams, art exhibitions, and theatrical performances. Balboa Park, a beautiful, green downtown park, houses museums and cultural centers as well as the San Diego Zoo. Lovers of marine life can visit the Birch Aquarium and SeaWorld or marvel at seals in their natural habitat lolling- about in La Jolla Cove.
The only danger presented by San Diego, with its warm climate, natural beauty, countless outdoor activities, cultural wealth, and host of top-tier universities and language schools, is that students may never want to leave.
English Schools in San Diego
Converse International School of Languages
Converse International School of Languages (CISL) has been successfully teaching English to international students since 1972. Committed to delivering quality language instruction, CISL is accredited by CEA and is an official Cambridge ESOL testing center.
With a maximum of eight students per class, the school provides a great deal of individual attention and participation as part of challenging, rigorous, intensive language programs that will help students achieve maximum results quickly. This commitment to excellence is reflected in the well-trained and dedicated teaching staff, attracting serious and highly motivated students to the general English, business English, and test preparation programs (TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge).
Also on offer are premier English courses, which include focused small-group (four students) classes or private (one-to-one) lessons, designed for business executives and other ambitious learners who want to benefit from individual attention and industry-specific English vocabulary and skills.
In addition to year-round adult programs in the city centers of San Diego and San Francisco, CISL offers winter and summer junior programs (for teens, ages 14 to 17) at Yale University, Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), and the University of San Diego.
Intrax San Diego
Opened in 1999, students describe the Intrax San Diego Center as a “big family,” making it a wonderful environment in which to learn English, develop professional skills, and learn about American culture. The school has been newly renovated to offer classrooms with flat-screen TVs and computers, a great student lounge and kitchen, free wireless internet, two new computer labs, weekly Intrax-organized activities, career counseling, and university advising centers.
The center offers business English, general English, professional certificates, TOEFL, and Cambridge test preparation programs, with the option of a standard, intensive, or super schedule. There are two types of housing options — the homestay option is a good way to experience American traditions and cultures by living with a carefully screened and interviewed family ready to welcome international students to San Diego, while the residence club option offers an independent living situation with a fun, international atmosphere that includes dormitory-style housing and meal options or shared kitchens.
Students spend 75% of class time focused on developing speaking skills, meet Americans, and practice English with a visiting American in class every week. They can also get professional experience at an American company by participating in the career-preparation activity and through guest speakers and company tours.
University of California, San Diego English Language Institute (ELI)
The University of California, San Diego English Language Institute (ELI) was ranked as the top English language institute in the U.S. by Japan’s Ryugaku Journal, and is also ranked top in the world for promised improvement and teacher and staff support.
Situated on the University of California, San Diego campus, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it is a great location to study English for academic or professional development. Students can take a TOEFL preparation, conversation and fluency, legal English, medical English, business English, or academic English program.
A teacher-training professional certificate program is available in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), which prepares teachers to work confidently in all cultural environments and situations.
Kaplan International’s new school is located in the exciting Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. The school building benefits from an ultra-modern design with huge windows which flood the 21 classrooms and expansive student lobby with light. Each of the classrooms is equipped with a SMART Board; there is a computer lab and also a net lab, which enables students to access the computer-lab software on their own devices from anywhere in the school. Additionally, there is a prayer room and a large outdoor patio. Students can study English in a relaxed, international environment. On offer are a number of different English and test preparation courses, including general and intensive English, TOEFL, Cambridge, GMAT, and GRE for international students. Students can customize their courses with specific skills classes on topics such as business and conversational English. A university placement service offers assistance with placement at partner colleges and universities throughout the U.S. All Kaplan International schools in the U.S. are accredited by ACCET.
Students have the option of living with a host family or in student residences. Every homestay in San Diego is carefully selected by the school staff to provide a safe and welcoming home environment. One of the apartment residences is a short walk from the school, whilst the other is 45 minutes away from downtown. The apartment complex is ideal for students who wish to have more independence during their stay and offers amenities such as a fitness center and swimming pool.
ELS/San Diego specializes in helping students acquire the English language and study skills they need for successful study at a college or university abroad as part of the largest network of campus-based English language instruction centers in the world. There are over 80 study locations worldwide, including in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, Malaysia, and India, with the majority on university campuses. In the past 50 years, over 1.1 million international students from more than 175 countries have learned English with ELS.
Students attend language classes for 30 hours per week and go on outings to local educational and recreational destinations. By completing Level 112 of the ELS Intensive English for Academic Purposes Program, students fulfill the English-proficiency requirement for admission at more than 650 institutions of higher learning. The San Diego center offers English for academic purposes, general English, semi-intensive English, executive English, and the Complete Prep Program for the TOEFL iBT. Both homestay and off-campus apartment housing options are available.
American Language Institute (ALI)
ALI, on the campus of San Diego State University, offers students the opportunity to study English in first-rate facilities, on a beautiful campus in “America’s finest city.” It has a number of diverse programs to meet the specific needs and goals of students. These include an intensive English program, an academic English program, business English, pre-masters and pre-MBA preparation, university credit classes through Semester at SDSU, and special group programs.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University (SDSU) is the city’s largest university, with a campus that offers everything students need, from numerous restaurants to quiet places to sit and read in the sun. The 300-acre campus, adopting the Spanish mission architectural style, provides a safe, beautiful, and state-of-the-art place to study. Students can visit park-like areas to relax, the Commons to eat and socialize, or the mall areas to view displays of organizations, businesses, and events. The Student Union, the campus living room, has courtyards, restaurants, a bowling alley, a mini-gym, a theater, meeting rooms, and student organization offices. Students also have access to a recreation center, exercise classes, pools, and team sports. SDSU is also the only university in the city to have its own trolley stop, which provides students easy access to many parts of the city.
San Francisco is considered one of the greatest cities in the world for many things, including its diversity, its restaurants (and its renowned food trucks), a happening theater scene, and its tolerance for all cultures. And beyond the 50-square-mile city, in the surrounding Bay Area, there’s so much more to explore, including Silicon Valley’s innovations, Marin’s Headlands, the vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, and Berkeley’s free spirit.
The city is located in Northern California and enjoys a temperate climate year round. Comprising a variety of diverse districts (Chinatown, Japantown, Little Italy, and the Hispanic Mission District), somehow, San Francisco manages to combine European olde-worlde charm with techno genius, giving students a cultural experience that will inspire them for the rest of their lives.
English Schools in San Francisco
Brandon College, established in 1938, is located in the heart of San Francisco, within easy walking distance of the famous cable cars, Union Square, and Chinatown. It is a privately owned school that is well known for its family-style atmosphere, small classes, and great mix of nationalities. Programs offered range from short-term, part-time general English classes to full-time intensive English, business English, and TOEFL preparation courses. Students can start classes any Monday, and instruction is offered at all levels of proficiency, from low-level beginners to near-native advanced students. It also offers a wide variety of housing options (residence clubs, homestay, apartments) and a fun activity program allowing students to explore the diverse city neighborhoods, play sports, eat out, go to the movies, or bike over the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco is a great destination for students and travelers of all ages. There is so much to explore and see, from famous Fisherman’s Wharf to Coit Tower, Twin Peaks to Haight-Ashbury, or a ride on a cable car through Chinatown. In the surrounding areas, you can hike amid impressive redwood trees in Muir Woods, enjoy the roar of the Pacific Ocean, ski or snowboard at Lake Tahoe, and be amazed at the scenery in Yosemite National Park.
Intrax San Francisco
The Intrax Center in San Francisco offers students the opportunity to live, study, and prepare for their careers in one of America’s most cosmopolitan cities. It is one of the biggest ESL schools in San Francisco, with new technology all throughout the center, including TVs in every classroom, two new computer rooms, and free wi-fi.
Programs are designed to help students speak English confidently in any situation. Friendly teachers are trained and qualified English instructors with years of experience. Intrax offers students courses such as business English, professional certificates, and practical general English programs.
In addition to the academic experience, the school offers students the social experience of a lifetime. Located in the financial district, it is a short walk from the piers on the Embarcadero, shopping centers, and world-famous museums. Whether taking part in one of its many sponsored student activities, going out for a night on the town with new friends, or enjoying a meal with a homestay family, students are guaranteed to get the experience they’ve been looking for socially, culturally, academically, and professionally.
Kaplan International’s state-of-the-art school in San Francisco has a vibrant and lively atmosphere in which it offers a comprehensive range of courses and first-class learning facilities. Located between the financial and commercial areas, the school is on a two-block stretch of the premier student area of downtown San Francisco. Situated on the first and second floor of an historic and refurbished building, it is only two blocks from San Francisco’s central thoroughfare, close to Market Street, and the Museum of Modern Art, and only a short ride on the historic F Line to the Ferry Building, Pier 39, or Fisherman’s Wharf.
Welcoming and experienced school staff offer high-quality services as they do in all Kaplan facilities — and, as mentioned in the San Diego listing, are fully equipped with all learning environment amenities and certification opportunities. The student experience is further enhanced in San Francisco by a wonderful social program, including specially organized weekly events and activities such as boat cruises on the bay, Giants baseball games, karaoke nights, and excursions to Alcatraz Island. Students have the option of living with host families or in student residences.
The Language Company (Berkeley)
The Language Company is located on Berkeley’s historic Telegraph Avenue, just four blocks from one of the world’s most prestigious public universities. The location also offers access to the Bay Area’s many exciting destinations, including Muir Woods, Alcatraz, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown.
The Intensive English Program offers smaller class sizes with an emphasis on academic English, while the general English course caters to short-term students looking to improve their communication skills. The Study Vacation Program has been very successful and offers a unique cultural and educational experience.
The Language Company aims to create a strong school community through its small yet diverse student body, dynamic teaching staff, and cultural opportunities outside of the classroom.
The Intensive English Program at the University of San Francisco
The Intensive English Program at the University of San Francisco offers students the chance to study English in the heart of one of the most innovative and diverse cities. The university’s 55-acre hilltop campus overlooks Golden Gate Park, the Pacific Ocean, and downtown San Francisco.
Offering classes since 1974, the USF faculty and staff create a program that is personal, intellectually demanding, and outcome oriented. Courses are offered in the summer at the intermediate-to-advanced stage and focus on English for academic or professional settings. Students study for 25 hours a week and have opportunities to partake in cultural and educational field trips around the Bay Area. On-campus housing, access to all USF facilities and amenities, and advising on immigration and studying in the U.S. are also provided. To learn more, students can visit www.usfca.edu/iep.