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Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI), located in scenic Northern California on the campus of Sonoma State University, is an ideal place for those desiring stimulating classes taught in a safe, comfortable environment. Since 1979, SSALI has been providing intensive instruction to students, professionals, and others who need to learn English quickly to meet academic, job-related, and social needs.

The Environment

At Sonoma State University, students enjoy a refreshing blend of city conveniences and country comforts. The campus covers 220 park-like acres surrounded by farmland and foothills. It is located in the modern, friendly community of Rohnert Park (pop. 40,000). Nearby is Santa Rosa, the cultural and financial center of the region. The excitement of San Francisco is only an hour to the south. The spectacular coast, world-famous Wine Country, impressive redwood forests, parks, and golf courses are only minutes from campus. The area enjoys a mild Mediterranean type climate. Daytime temperatures range from 27°C in summer to 12°C in winter.


The academic program consists of a professionally designed curriculum for students who are high beginners to advanced. All students receive instruction in grammar, composition, oral communication, reading, vocabulary, and study skills. Faculty are talented, dedicated professionals, trained and experienced in ESL methodology. Interactive, communicative, and task-based learning strategies are utilized. Class size is 12-15, ensuring maximum individual attention. Students can pursue independent study in reading, listening, and computer labs. Special elective classes include: TOEFL preparation, Pronunciation, Conversation, American Culture, English for Business, English through video, and Idioms & Slang.

Sample Semester Schedule
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-9:50   Reading Grammar Reading Grammar
10:00-10:50 Composition Reading Grammar Reading Grammar
11:00-11:50 Composition Listening & Speaking Listening & Speaking Composition Grammar
12:00-12:50 Lunch Conversation Groups and Club Meetings
1:00-1:50 TOEFL Preparation Listening & Speaking Newsletter/video project TOEFL Preparation  
2:00-2:50 TOEFL Preparation American Culture/Conversation Newsletter/video project Pronunciation  
3:00-3:50 Vocabulary American Culture/Conversation Vocabulary Pronunciation  

Student Progress

A thorough program of testing ensures appropriate placement in English language classes. Progress can be rapid depending upon individual aptitude, study habits, and motivation. A student entering as a beginner can expect to study four semesters before reaching the level of proficiency necessary for successful university study.

Visa Information

This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students. When the application process is complete, you will be sent the appropriate documentation to apply for a student visa (F-1) at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Visitors in the country on B-2 visas are permitted a limited amount of coursework. Students wanting to study for full-time should obtain an F-1 visa.

Special Features

  • Attendance and graduation certificates
  • College and university admissions assistance
  • TOEFL requirement for undergraduate admission to SSU waived for successful SSALI graduates
  • Conversation partner program with an American student or community volunteer
  • Opportunities to take university courses for degree credit
  • Personal counseling to help students with academic problems or cultural adjustments
  • University I.D. card for use of campus facilities: library, media resources, computer labs, athletic equipment, swimming pool, tennis courts, etc.


Each semester students enjoy a number of extra-curricular activities. There are trips to San Francisco or Alcatraz, to the state capital in Sacramento, or to amusement parks such as Six Flags or Great America. There may be excursions to art and science museums, to local beaches or distant ski resorts. Students can attend plays, concerts, and special sports events. There are parties and picnics, visits with American families, and special holiday celebrations. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities, to communicate in English outside the classroom, and to experience American culture firsthand.