English Courses in Philadelphia

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English Courses in Philadelphia
Map with all the language programs options offered by ViveCampus in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the top destinations for learning and studying English as a second language (ESL) in The United States. The city of Philadelphia has several English language schools, institutes, and prestigious universities that offer English classes.

If you’re planning to study English as a second language (ESL), Philadelphia in The United States should be on your radar. This vibrant city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and education that makes it a top choice for international students.

Philadelphia is home to a variety of educational institutions that offer English programs for all ages and budgets. From prestigious universities to dedicated language institutes, there’s something for everyone. Importantly, these programs allow you to apply for a student visa, and they’re also available in both full-time and part-time options for U.S. citizens and residents.

What sets Philadelphia apart is its immersive environment. The city offers countless opportunities to practice your English skills outside the classroom. Whether you’re ordering a famous Philly cheesesteak, chatting with friendly locals at a baseball game, or asking for directions to the Liberty Bell, every interaction is a chance to improve your language proficiency.

Moreover, Philadelphia is steeped in American history. As the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it’s a living classroom for students interested in American culture and history. Visit Independence Hall where the founding fathers signed the nation’s founding documents, or explore the Museum of the American Revolution to delve deeper into the country’s past.

The city also boasts a thriving arts scene. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the U.S., offering an extensive collection that spans across periods and continents. For those interested in performing arts, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of concerts, ballets, and Broadway shows.

When it comes to leisure activities, Philadelphia doesn’t disappoint either. Enjoy a stroll along the Schuylkill River Trail, explore Reading Terminal Market’s diverse food offerings, or catch an Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field.

But learning English in Philadelphia isn’t just about studies and sightseeing. It’s also about becoming part of a diverse, welcoming community. As an international student, you’ll be embraced by the city’s multicultural atmosphere and its friendly residents.

Now, here’s a valuable tip for ESL students: immerse yourself as much as possible. Use every opportunity to communicate in English – speak with locals, join social groups, read books and watch movies in English. Remember that making mistakes is part of learning; it’s how you improve!

In conclusion, Philadelphia is more than just a place to study English; it’s a place to experience life in a dynamic American city. Its blend of educational opportunities, historical landmarks, cultural events, and friendly people makes it an ideal destination for ESL students. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable educational journey in Philadelphia!

The most common programs are "General English" or "Academic English Programs", which allow you to improve your English level for academic or professional purposes.

Common questions

  • Where to study English in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
  • What is the best English language course in Philadelphia?
  • How can I study English in Philadelphia?
  • English programs near Philadelphia?
  • Cheap and good English courses in Philadelphia?

You will find the answer to these questions on this website and a complete list of English language schools available for international students and residents. Click on the specific language school or university to get more information. You will find more details about the programs on those pages, helpful resources, and tips as housing, reviews, comments, and testimonials. As a leading world agency in ViveCampus, we can guide you in all the steps to study English in Philadelphia, USA.

1. Best places to learn English in Philadelphia, USA

English courses as a second language in top universities and institutions

Philadelphia stands out for studying English over other cities, mainly because of its great historical museums and landmarks; its diverse mixture of the new and the old; its famous cuisine; its great location near cities such as New York, Baltimore, and Washington DC; and the many prestigious educational institutions you can find there.

In Philadelphia and surroundings we can find the following places:

  • Old City
  • Society Hill
  • Center City
  • The Parkway
  • The Chestnut Hill
  • The University City
  • The West Philly
  • The East Falls
  • The Fishtown
  • The Point Breeze
  • The Bella Vista
  • Downtown
  • Washington Square West

List of English Language Schools in Philadelphia:


One of the best destination for international students in the USA


There is a great variety of excellent English language institutions in Philadelphia, so you can choose the one you like the best.



Universities and English language institutions offer access to multiple facilities and services, such as sport facilities, extracurricular activities, student clubs, libraries, computer labs, student lounge rooms, etc.



While staying in Philadelphia you will have plenty of opportunities to work on your English language skills outside the classroom by interacting with other students and native speakers.



You can expect numerous networking opportunities in Philadelphia and inside the school, where you will be able to meet new people and exchange experiences, which will prove useful for your future or current career.



Philadelphia has a fascinating mixture of urban city life represented by tall, modern buildings, and its rich history closely related to the American Independence and beautiful 18th and 19th century architecture.



Philadelphia has a great connectivity with several options in its public transportation system, composed of buses, subways, trolleys, and regional rail lines.



Philadelphia has a great number of fascinating places you can visit, including historical buildings, museums, and landmarks related to the American Independence.

4. Requirements to take an English Course in Philadelphia, USA

Some programs can have their own special requirements

Visa requirements

You will need an F1 student visa if you are planning to take an intensive English language program (18+ hours a week) To obtain this visa you have to apply by submitting the I-20 Form that the institution that you chose will send with the acceptation letter. However, you can also enroll with a tourist visa if you select a part-time program (less than 18 hours a week). You can learn more about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) by visiting this website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/.

Age requirements

Based on the university or institute, the minimum age limit changes. However, normally it is between 16 and 18 years old, since most of these programs are aimed at adult students. For those under that age, special junior programs for children and teenagers are also offered at different English schools. Moreover, ESL courses have no maximum age, so it is never too late to enroll and begin preparing for a brighter future by working on such a useful skill.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

You must prove that you have enough funds to cover the course’s fees and your living expenses, in order to be eligible for an F1 student visa. It depends on the English institution and course you select the amount of money you must prove you have. You need to consider that these funds must be in your bank account or in an account that belongs to a sponsor, who could be a family member.

Minimum English Language Level

Usually, those who want to study an ESL course or program need to meet a basic requirement of English proficiency, such as understanding and saying simple sentences; and asking and answering simple questions, as you need this to start adapting to an environment where only English is spoken. However, courses are normally offered from the basic to the advanced level, and your proficiency level will be assessed with a placement test once you have arrived. Moreover, there are other courses that require a higher level of English proficiency, which is verified by showing test results of TOEFL or IELTS.

5. Prices, dates and costs of English courses in Philadelphia 2024 - 2025

Explanation about main costs

The prices and the dates for the ESL courses and programs in Philadelphia will depend on which institution you choose, for how many weeks you will study, and for how many hours per week is the course taught (intensive or part-time).

You must consider the fact that some English institutions include some other items in the final cost when you are planning your budget. Some of them are the following: housing, health insurance, use of facilities, extracurricular activities and events, books and materials, etc.

When planning to study an English language program or course in Philadelphia, you have to consider some related costs. These will depend directly on which institution you will study, but we will try to offer as much detailed information as possible.

Main costs to consider if you want to study in Philadelphia, USA

ENGLISH PROGRAMThe cost depends on which English program you enroll (intensive or part-time, for how long, for many hours a week, etc.).
HEALTH INSURANCEIn some cases, institutions may offer to include the health insurance coverage in the final course price, with fees starting at $200 USD per session. Others might recommend preferred health insurance providers you can choose from. Keep in mind that F-1 students must have health insurance.
BOOKSSupplies and books costs will vary according to each institution. Prices are usually around $100 USD.
HOUSINGSome universities offer on-campus housing, with prices that start around $860 USD per month. Off-campus options include homestays (living with a local family), or renting a private apartment, with prices beginning at $800 USD a month for a studio apartment.
FOODIn some cases, universities or homestay housing include food meal plans, which can be both basic or more elaborated. The prices will vary depending on where you stay, how many meals a day you have, and for how many days a week.
VISABoth the F-1 Student and Tourist Visa include a USD $160 application fee. For the F-1 Visa you should also consider a USD $350 I-901 SEVIS registration fee. Finally, the ESTA has a total price of USD $14, divided in an application and an authorization fee. You should also consider a courier fee in case the school has to send you documents by express mail.
TRANSPORTATIONThe amount of money you will spend on commuting will depend on how far you live from the school and what kind of transportation you use. Philadelphia has subways, buses, trolleys, and regional rail lines. Our recommendation is to live as near as you can, so you can walk, go by bike or use the public transport. This is because buying or renting a car can be extremely expensive.
FLIGHT TICKETSThis depends on where you travel from, if its peak or off season, and the class you choose. We recommend checking travel quotation websites. As an extra information, the most expensive dates are near Christmas and New Year's Eve. In between you can find offers.

6. Who study English in Philadelphia, USA?

Students come from all over the world to learn English in Philadelphia

Philadelphia receives all kinds of students coming from different parts of the world, who are looking to enroll on English language courses and programs. Their motivation is enhancing their proficiency level and improving their future prospects. Another main reason is that by studying abroad, they can experience English on a daily basis, since after usually taking lessons in their countries, they realized they could not reach a high level of proficiency due to the fact that English is not widely spoken.

Young Students

They are usually high school or university students who enroll in schools in Philadelphia during their vacations. They normally looking to enhance their skill for academic purposes.

Young Professionals

They are recent higher-education graduates and tend to not have many years of work experience. Their objective is usually improving their English skills in Philadelphia to obtain a better job or to enroll on a postgraduate program abroad,

Senior Professionals

They are people with several years of experience that usually hold higher positions in companies. However, they have realized that they need to improve their English language level in order to communicate with other professionals at an international level. They usually take time off work to be able to take these English courses in Philadelphia.


These are permanent American citizens or temporary residents in Philadelphia, who usually accompany people who have transferred to work in the U.S. They look to improve their English skills to be able to communicate in a daily environment and understand American mass media.

7. Photos about studying English in Philadelphia, USA

Look some of the photos of the ESL programs
students from English language program in Philadelphia
international student of English course in statue of Rocky in Philadelphia
international students of English course visiting Philadelphia

8. Videos about studying English in Philadelphia, USA

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9. Information about Philadelphia, USA

Usually known as Philly, it is the biggest city in the state of Pennsylvania. Located next to the Delaware River, it has a population of around 1,500,000 people, and is divided in 10 council districts. It is renowned for being an incredibly relevant city during the American War of Independence, which is reflect on the several tourist destinations that can teach you more about American history. Philly’s climate is typically hot during the summer, mild during fall and spring, cold in the winter.

Some of the most representative attractions you can find in Philadelphia are: the Liberty Bell Pavilion; Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 4, 1776; the traditional Independence National Historical Park, a close look to American history; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; which has a large collection of all kinds of art; the Eastern State Penitentiary, built in 1829, it is now a museum open for everybody; the Barnes Foundation, a museum full of fascinating art, which you can visit for free the first Sunday of every month; the Philadelphia Zoo; the Rodin Museum, where you can see the world-famous The Thinker; the beautiful Fairmount Park; the Philadelphia’s City Hall; among others.

10. Frequently Asked Questions about studying English in Philadelphia

Can I travel only with an ESTA permit for a full-time intensive program if my country has an agreement?

Even if you belong to a country that has an ESTA permit agreement with the United States, a full-time intensive program requires an F-1 student visa. It is for this reason that you still need an F-1 student visa to take an intensive English program. Nevertheless, you can enroll on a part-time English course with an ESTA permit or tourist visa.

Which are the different steps of the application process for the F-1 student visa to study an English program in Philadelphia?

Please check with us what type of visa you need to take the program you are interested in.

  • All full-time programs in the U.S. require a F-1 student Visa. With an F-1 visa, you can extend your stay in the United States as long as you continue studying.
  • Part-time programs (less than 18 hours a week) can be taken with a tourist visa or visa waiver ESTA. With a tourist visa, you can only stay in the U.S. the duration your tourist visa allows, since your main purpose in the U.S. should be tourism.

If you need an F-1 student visa, please apply as soon as you receive your acceptance documents (I-20 form) from the English school. In some countries it can take several weeks to obtain a visa interview at the U.S. embassy.

You must confirm these steps on the website of the U.S. embassy in your country. You can look for your nearest U.S. embassy here: https://www.usembassy.gov/

Is there an age limit to enroll on an English program in Philadelphia?

For most English language institutions, the minimum age for students is between 16 and 18 years. Nevertheless, there is no maximum age, so no matter how old you are, you can always begin studying an English language course.

Which is the best university or institution to study English as a second language (ESL)?

On this same website, you can see the best English language institutions; therefore, you can select the one that matches with your needs and goals.

Can I obtain a scholarship if I enroll in an intensive or part-time program?

Sadly, no scholarships are offered by universities to English language students. Nonetheless, some institutions and schools do offer price discounts for international students.

Can I work while I study an English program in Philadelphia?

You can work inside the University campus for up to 20 hours a week according to the F-1 visa regulations. However, institutions tend to reserve these kind of job positions for degree students; therefore, English language students do not have many opportunities to work inside campus.

Which payment methods are available for ESL programs?

The payment methods available depend on the university or English center you select. Usually, the institutions ask for an initial fee around $200 USD, which covers the shipping cost of the documents you will need to apply for the student visa. The program cost is usually paid once you arrive at the institution, and the payment method is preferably credit card.

How much money will I need while I stay in Philadelphia?

We suggest that you should make an estimated cost sheet considering all the fees and extra items. It is important that you consider a cash cushion, in case emergencies, in order to avoid any kind of surprise.

Which neighborhood is better for living?

This depends solely on your lifestyle. If you are looking for a quieter neighborhood, entertainment areas or a location near the campus or institution. Therefore, some people can completely love a certain neighborhood, while others may think differently. That is why this decision is up to you.

11. Testimonials of international students

I loved Philadelphia! It is a very cultural and architectural city. As I only studied English here, many of the cases and topics we saw in the English classes corresponded to historical things from the USA, which we could see and visit in person. People in Philadelphia are super nice and that gave me confidence to speak outside of classes. Everyone was nice even when I made a lot of mistakes and couldn't understand the language much. Also, we went to New York a couple times, since it is only two hours away. I highly recommend studying English in Philadelphia.

Miguel A.

Profile Image Testimony 1 Philadelphia

I decided to study English in Philadelphia because it seemed like the best option in terms of cost/benefits. The academic quality of the institutions in Philadelphia is very high, and the cost of living is lower than in several other cities. Although I only studied English in Philly, I felt that the city helped me a lot to learn English in an efficient way. There are many fun things to do in the city. The university atmosphere is great too, and it's very easy to meet people at after-school activities and in bars. Philadelphia is an excellent city to learn English.

Joo-won H.

South Korea
Profile Image Testimony 2 Philadelphia

12. Benefits of studying English Abroad in Philadelphia

In the global world we live in, mastering the English language and having experience abroad is highly valued by companies and employers.

But the benefits are not only professional, as people who study abroad develop valuable skills such as competence in a new language, cultural exposure, tolerance, adaptability, leadership, and independence. All these skills are directly fostered by learning and living abroad.

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