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English in San Francisco - Brandon College

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Why study English in San Francisco?

  • Ages 16+
  • From 2 weeks
  • Experience the diversity of San Francisco
  • Centrally located, spacious facilities
  • General and business English
  • Diverse nationality mix
  • Cambridge, IELTS and TOEFL exam preparation
  • Homestay or residence
  • Customised services


San Francisco

Beautiful San Francisco, located on the tip of a peninsula in Northern California, is one of the best places to improve your English in a gorgeous natural setting. Surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay and regularly ranked the US's most beautiful city, this vibrant, eccentric metropolis is famous for its steep hills, views of the bay and iconic architecture.

Today, the Bay Area is also known as Silicon Valley, and is the epicentre of tech-start ups, from Facebook to Google to Apple. But the city hasn't lost its liberal, laid-back vibe. Explore the city by cable car and discover Alcatraz Island, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge and Nob Hill.

Brandon College

Founded in 1938, our partner school, Brandon College, is one of the oldest language schools in San Francisco. The school is ideally located in the centre of town, on Market Street, a stone's throw from Union Square.

**Brandon College is accredited by ACCET, NAFSA, AAIEP and TESOL **.

School facilities include:

  • 12 bright, spacious classrooms
  • SmartBoards in each classroom
  • IT suite with 23 Internet connected computers
  • Free WiFi access throughout the centre
  • Cafe on ground floor level
  • Excellent library facilities
  • Self-study room
  • Wheelchair accessible

Activities and events during your stay

You will enjoy a varied calendar of social and leisure activities every week, in the afternoon or during the evening. Attendance is optional. Many of these activities are free of charge, however, some may require a fee. All activities are subject to change without notice and may be offered seasonally.

Some of the many activities available include:

  • Welcome Event
  • Tour of San Francisco's iconic neighbourhoods
  • Tour of UC Berkeley
  • Gospel concert
  • Museum outings
  • Yoga classes
  • Movie and restaurant nights
  • Excursions


English language courses: the basics

  • Lesson length: 60 minutes
  • Class size: Average 6-8 students (maximum 10)
  • Schedule: morning and/or afternoon lessons
  • Placement test: first day of lessons
  • Certificate of completion at the end of your stay
  • Weekly progress tests
  • Qualified native English teachers

Courses on offer

  • General English: 16 hours per week (Monday-Thursday)

    4 lessons a day will give you a practical understanding of the English language and take you all the way to fluency. See your confidence improve as Brandon College trains you in all four communication skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    Language level: all levels

    • Intensive English: 20 lessons per week (Monday-Friday)

    The ideal course to get your English where you want it to be, fast. Includes the above General English classes in addition to speaking-focused lessons to develop your fluency.

    Language level: all levels

    • Business English: 20 hours per week

      The Business English course will allow you to improve your English fluency and empower you with the language, knowledge and skills to confidently deal with a variety of business issues.

    Language level: upper intermediate**

    • Exam Preparation Courses

      • Cambridge ESOL: 20 hours per week
        Session length: From 12 weeks at specific start dates (see "Prices and Dates").

      Your teachers will guide and monitor you to make sure that you progress at the correct rate to succeed in your exam, giving you the specific vocabulary and grammar and study plan you need. Using sample exam papers you will learn how to effectively answer questions so by the time you take the test, you will know the style of questions to expect and how to answer them. Approximative exam price: US$495

      Language level:

      • FCE: Intermediate (12 weeks)
      • CAE: Advanced (12 weeks)

        • IELTS & TOEFL Exam Preparation: 25 hours per week

        Session length: From 1 week. Course starts every month

        If you wish to attend university in an English-speaking country, preparing for the IELTS or TOEFL exam is the first step to success. Your teachers will meet with you individually to assess your language proficiency and goals. Sample papers will help you learn how to effectively answer questions and learn the techniques you need to sit the exam with confidence.

        Language Level : upper intermediate



Shared room, shared bathroom, half board.

Travel time to school: San Francisco's residential areas are in the suburbs of the city. Travel time to EC takes 45-60 minutes by public transport. San Francisco boasts an excellent public transport system.

Optional Extras:

  • Single room

Practical information:

  • Linens/towels provided

  • Laundry: Not all households in San Francisco own a washing machine. Some of our host families may do their laundry at a nearby laundromat. Usually, host families with a washing machine at home will let you use it for your laundry.

Residence - Vantaggio Garland

Located a stone's throw from Market Street in the heart of San Francisco, a short walk from Brandon College.


  • Single or shared room
  • Private bathroom
  • Continental breakfast
  • Travel time to school: short walk
  • Located in the heart of San Francisco
  • Deposit to be paid on arrival (see Dates & Prices 2016 tab), to be refunded at the end of your stay provided no damages are incurred

Facilities and services

  • Linens/towels provided on arrival
  • Free WiFi access
  • Fully-equipped shared kitchen
  • Common room
  • Resident advisor
  • Access to rooftop patio
  • Coin laundry facility on-site
  • Weekly cleaning service; please note that outside of this service, students are responsible for cleaning their rooms
  • Wheelchair accessible

Optional Extra:

  • Single room

Dates & Prices 2016

Dates 2016

Course start dates Most courses start every Monday year-round (exceptions are outlined below.) On Bank Holiday Mondays, lessons start on Tuesdays.

Bank holidays and holidays (No lessons will take place on these dates and they will not be made up or refunded): 01/01, 18/01, 15/02, 25/03, 30/05, 04/07, 05/09, 10/10, 24 & 25/11 - Christmas holiday 26-30/12 included

Business English start dates: every Monday for up to 23 weeks

Exam Prep Course Dates:

FCE Courses:

  • 14/03-03/06 (12 weeks - exam date: 6-9/06)
  • 05/09-25/11 (12 weeks - exam date: 28-30/11)

CAE Courses:

  • 14/03-03/06 (12 weeks - exam date: 6-9/06)
  • 05/09-25/11 (12 weeks - exam date: 28-30/11)

(Exam dates are subject to change at the local centre's discretion. For more information, visit the Cambridge exam website.)

IELTS & TOEFL: 11/01, 08/02, 07/03, 04/04, 02/05, 06/06, 05/07, 01/08, 29/08, 26/09, 24/10, 21/11 Exam dates can be found on the ETS website.

Prices include:

  • Your chosen course
  • Homestay (half board) or residence (breakfast) accommodation
  • Shared room
  • Internet access
  • Assistance from our offices
  • All taxes and enrolment fees

Prices do not include:

  • Travel to San Francisco
  • Airport transfers
  • Optional extras
  • Course materials
  • Midday meals (if homestay), lunch and dinner (if residence)
  • Transportation in and around San Francisco
  • Optional activities
  • Deposit on arrival and cleaning service fee, where applicable
  • Exam fees, where applicable (Cambridge, TOEFL, IELTS etc)
  • Visa fees
  • Optional insurance

Practical Information


Arrivals: Sunday

Departures: Saturday

If residence accommodation: Check-in: 12:00-6:00 p.m. (Saturday); Check-out: 8:00-10:00 a.m. (Saturday)

  • Arrival airport:

  • San Francisco International, SFO

Airport transfers available on request (fees apply, see price list)

Please note: Do not make travel arrangements until we have confirmed your enrolment in your chosen course.

Visa Information

You might need a visa for this course. For more information please visit our Visa Information page.

Do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email if you require any additional information.