For more than 60 years, students from all over the world have come to Southwestern Academy to learn English and prepare to attend an American college or university. Our ESL program allows students to take certain classes concurrently as they study English. The goal of the ESL program is to mainstream each student into a regular high school program as quickly as possible. This normally takes from 18 to 24 months for a beginning student.
In our close-knit environment, international students are part of our community. They live on campus and quickly make friends with Americans in their dorms. Southwestern’s ESL Program is offered at both campuses, year round.

The ESL Program includes:

  • Three levels of study: beginning, intermediate, and advanced
  • Small class sizes of 8-12 students
  • Intensive practice in listening, speaking, grammar, phonics, reading, writing, vocabulary, conversation, and note-taking
  • Carefully structured courses taught by certified ESL teachers using the latest material resources
  • ESL classes concurrently offered with other subjects including art history, music, math, social studies, and American culture
  • Advanced classes help students transition into college preparatory coursework
  • Full boarding including meals and supervision each day of the week
  • Wide range of sports, field trips, and fun activities for an exciting school experience

To see answers to common questions about international study, visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.


Both of our campuses offer carefully structured ESL classes at three levels: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Classes cover:

  • Reading and Phonics
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary Development
  • Writing
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Conversation
  • Note-taking (advanced level)

At each proficiency level, students are assigned to classes suited to their abilities. Transition classes offer students a chance to practice English skills as they move into college preparatory subjects. These classes include:

  • Art History, Music
  • Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry
  • American Culture and History
  • General Science

Field trips supplement all subjects. In addition, ESL students are encouraged to participate in Southwestern sports teams or recreational sports.

“My favorite thing about Southwestern is mixing with different cultures.”