Spend Your Summer Learning English in San Diego [Ages 13-17]

Learning English is an incredibly valuable skill that offers a lifetime of benefits in our increasingly interconnected world.

And there are countless educational programs designed to help you accomplish this. Because there are so many non-native speakers who are eager to learn English, especially young people, here we will focus on English programs for international students.

First, let’s talk about some of the most important factors to consider when choosing your English language learning program:

  • Outcome — We’ll spotlight the end result first, because it is essential to select a program that has a proven track record of helping students learn the language. This means significantly improved English comprehension reading, writing and speaking skills.
  • Small class sizes — Smaller classes are important because they ensure optimal interaction between teacher and student.
  • Top-notch instructors — Students will get the most out of their experience when engaging with faculty instructors who are both highly skilled in helping international students develop their English abilities and also passionate about the experience.
  • International focus — Learning in an environment that attracts students from all over the world and is designed to create a sense of community that builds lasting friendships is proven to help stimulate success.  
  • Location — This is especially important when it comes to residential summer programs for international students learning English because young people studying away from home are much more likely to fully immerse themselves in the experience if they feel safe, engaged and happy in the learning environment.
  • Cultural and recreational opportunities — Blending focused classroom studies with a diverse range of outside activities not only makes the experience more fun, it provides important opportunities for students to test their skills and absorb the English language in a variety of real-life settings.   

You may not be surprised to hear that the University of San Diego offers a high-quality summer English language program for international students — one that attracts students from all over the world to its sunny campus near the sea to immerse themselves in a life-changing, language-learning experience.

Developed especially for international non-native English speakers between the ages of 13 and 17 and offered through our English Language Academy, the university’s Summer International Junior Program has taught English to more than 2,500 young students over the past 15 years.

Welcome to the University of San Diego

One of the best parts about learning English in San Diego is, well … San Diego. Located on our beautiful USD campus, not far from the beaches, the summer language program includes many opportunities for cultural activities and fun in the sun.

The program includes workshops, field trips, activities and social events in the afternoon and on weekends. The activities calendar typically includes a visit to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, as well as chances to try surfing, go shopping and much more. One special highlight is an optional weekend visit to nearby Los Angeles that includes a trip to Disneyland!

These activities are designed to balance classroom studies by providing students with opportunities to relax and have fun while making friends and developing their language skills outside the classroom.

In addition to our unparalleled academic program, the ability to enrich the robust educational experience with such a diverse range of fun, language skill-building adventures is part of what sets our summer English language programs for international students apart. Here’s a closer look at some of the extracurricular activities and field trips students may take choose to part in:

San Diego Zoo

The world-famous San Diego Zoo invites visitors to: “Spend the day monkeying around in our tropical oasis as you visit amazing habitats for animals such as gorillas, Komodo dragons, tigers, flamingos, mandrills, polar bears, birds of paradise, giant tortoises, elephants, and more. Visit the Australian Outback to see our colony of koalas.”

Pacific Beach

Beautiful Pacific Beach stretches for miles from the Mission Bay jetty to the cliffs of La Jolla. Students have an opportunity to try surfing, bicycle by the sea or just have some fun at the beach and take a dip in the ocean.

Belmont Amusement Park

Located by the surf and sand of Mission Beach, Belmont Park has the only wooden roller coaster on the West Coast. Visitors can enjoy traditional and contemporary amusement park rides, ride the wave machines at Wave House, play laser tag and enjoy a variety of beachfront restaurants.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the largest, most beautiful city parks in the United States. It features a range of entertainment options including live concerts at the Organ Pavilion, the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Fleet Science Center | IMAX Theater. The San Diego Zoo is here, too.


The legendary theme park is an iconic attraction that dates back to 1955, the brainchild of the legendary animator and moviemaker Walt Disney. A 3-day, 2-night trip that includes stops at Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Rodeo Drive is offered to residential students.

Of course, student safety and campus security is paramount at the University of San Diego, located in what has been lauded as the “safest big city in America.”

A Closer Look at the University’s English Language Academy

Offered through the University of San Diego’s prestigious English Language Academy, the summer ESL program for teens is designed to be a fun, yet rigorous academic experience delivered by engaged instructors in small class sizes (average of 8 students; maximum of 10).

To get an inside glimpse of the program’s friendly, supportive approach to language learning, interested students and parents are invited to watch this brief video.


“From my perspective, the summer program was such a great experience, not only because of the academic content, but because of the whole experience of living for one month in the U.S. This program gave us a chance to improve our English skills, and to meet new and interesting people. The USD facilities are great, and the professors have a lot of knowledge and personal skills to work with the group.” — Alejandro / Spain

Here’s how Francine Chemnick, director of international programs at the University of San Diego’s Department of Professional & Continuing Education, describes the English Language Academy program.  

“Students come from all over the world, some of them at different levels of English proficiency. Not only do they learn to speak, write, read, listen with much more confidence than when they first came, but they also feel like they’re part of a family. And I have heard that echoed by many students — that it’s more than just coming to a school, that the teachers and the staff all encourage them to such a degree that they feel that there’s a family who cares about them.” 

Learn More About USD’s Summer English Language Program [Ages 13–17]

Academic Schedule: The program offers flexible start dates with 2-week, 3-week and 4-week options and consists of 17 hours per week of language instruction in the morning, with social events and activities in the afternoons and on weekends.

Program Details

For addition information: