Small Town, Big City

Lizzie Olster moons over Boston as a study abroad locale

Boston, Massachusetts is the quintessential college town: geographically small, university-saturated and intellectually inclined. Boston features a diverse educational backdrop serviced by a simple five-line subway system (the “T”) and inexpensive Chinatown buses for weekend trips to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. However, unlike other college towns, Boston also boasts a colorful and historically significant past, which makes it a major U.S. city that retains an intimate feel.

Dotted with both public and private schools, the landscape has a unifying campus feel that is difficult to find in other major U.S. cities. Boston benefits from a high concentration of academic resources like libraries and museums, but also touts the staples of student life: inexpensive restaurants and bars. Some local favorites include Boston Chowda in Faneuil Hall, Union Oyster House (the oldest restaurant in the U.S.), and The Sausage Guy outside Fenway Park.

Boston is a city rich in historic sites and architecture. Boston Common, established in 1634, is the oldest city park in the United States and the starting point of the Freedom Trail, a short walking tour of the city. Other stops include the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s house and the USS Constitution.

Though the climate can be unfriendly, with humid summers and freezing winters, the city is welcoming and accommodating. Boston’s small-town feel within a rich academic and historically significant setting makes it an ideal study abroad destination for those aiming to gain a perfect balance between higher learning and urban living.

ELC Boston
Since 1978, ELC has been providing programs and student services to international students from all over the world. The school is located in the heart of downtown Boston’s historic Beacon Hill district in a brand-new location with facilities that include a spacious student lounge, a computer lab with 18 computers for student use, 14 classrooms, and two executive conference rooms.

ELC is member of IALC, ACCET, NAFSA, and AAIEP. Each location is also an approved testing site for the University of Cambridge FCE, CAE, and CPE exams. Their 12-student maximum class size, wide variety of programs, comprehensive curriculum, and highly qualified instructors make it the right type of environment for rapid language learning.

ELC has a wide range of housing options to suit each student’s needs and tastes — from living in an American homestay to sharing an apartment to living dormitory-style. Their on-site housing coordinator us there to make sure that each student is placed in the ideal option for him/her.

ELC also offers extensive student services, which include daily chaperoned activity options, free wireless internet, free college counseling, and free tutoring.

The summer junior program at Wheelock College allows students 14 to 17 years old the opportunity to live and study on a beautiful college campus in the center of Boston. The fun-filled activities calendar makes every day an adventure.

FLS International
FLS International is ideally located in the heart of Boston, overlooking Boston Common, the famous and oldest public park and gardens in the United States. It’s home to the Public Gardens, the Frog Pond, a bandstand, softball fields and plenty of open, grassy space. Without even leaving the center, students can look out at the landmark gold dome of the state capitol and the picturesque, colonial-style Park Street Church.

Also right outside is the Park Street subway stop. This station is a major stop in the Boston public transport system. With three metro lines, students can reach many of Boston’s best attractions in minutes.

Within walking distance of the center, students can venture out to visit a range of landmarks including Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, Newbury Street, Beacon Hill, and the historic Freedom Trail.

On two large floors of classrooms and office space, students enjoy all the amenities of a great learning environment, including a computer lab, Smartboard-equipped classrooms, a TV lounge, kitchen, and, of course, our expert staff of teachers and administrators.

FLS offers homestay accommodation with local families and dormitory-style accommodation at the International Guest house, located just a few minutes away from the center.

Students can choose from a wide range of programs, such as Academic English, TOEFL/SAT/GRE/GMAT Preparation, Executive Business English, and General and Vacation English. Students can start any Monday. FLS offers unique summer and winter specialty tours.

OISE Boston
OISE Boston is unique. It specializes in personalized, intensive English coaching. The dynamic, bespoke courses combine Tutorials (one-on-one lessons), Quatorials (groups with a maximum of four students), workshops and self-study for fast-paced, challenging programs. Whether the student is focusing on English for professional reasons, preparation for the TOEIC exam or English for universal use, the school’s inspiring tutors develop an individual program to meet their learning goals. By specializing in rigorous English language coaching, OISE Boston drives ambitious learners to achieve. Their commitment to excellence goes beyond purely academic matters to include all aspects of the client’s stay.

OISE views the client’s accommodation and social experience as an integral part of the experience. Immersion into the American culture and language through welcoming host families and regular leisure activities after class complements their studies. OISE Boston focuses on academic and professional achievement combined with the extraordinary range of activities on offer in the city. OISE places an extremely high value on education and professional ambitions.

Boston School of Modern Languages
With over 85 years of experience, the Boston School of Modern Languages is one of the oldest and best known language schools in the U.S. Since 1925, it has educated thousands of students from all over the world in American English. Offering more than 14 different levels, BSML makes sure every student finds the perfect course. Apart from Intensive English, BSML also offers Summer Courses, English and Sports Courses and Business English for Professionals. The Boston area has 63 colleges and universities, Harvard and M.I.T. being the most famous, and is therefore one of the best places in the world to pursue an academic career. BSML offers a variety of courses to prepare students for a university career and to help them gain admission. Some of the most popular courses are University Studies Preparation and TOEFL Test Preparation. In addition to the academic program, BSML students can also choose from a wide variety of afternoon and weekend activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter and beach outings, museum visits, and whale watching in the warmer months. Throughout the year there are trips to New York, Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, and many other locations.

Boston Academy of English
Boston Academy of English — an ACCET accredited English language school located in downtown Boston — has been teaching English as a Second Language to international students since 1995. Boston Academy of English is proud of their friendly and supportive environment, small classes, and quality teachers. They encourage students to not only learn English, but to live it on a daily basis by experiencing America’s “Walking City” — Boston.

In addition to ESL classes, Boston Academy of English offers TOEFL test preparation courses, allowing ESL students to be competitive with their American peers when applying to the many high-quality colleges and universities in the Boston area and beyond. Their popular Certificate of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CTEFL) offers native and near-native English-speakers the opportunity to change careers and/or travel to distant lands as teachers of English, while receiving continuing post-certificate support in job placement.

Excellent classes, a prime location, quality accommodations, and a wide range of services and fun activities make the Boston Academy of English the perfect place to study English and experience American culture.

Boston Language Institute
The Boston Language Institute is New England’s most broadly based resource for language learning and related services. Celebrating 30 years and over 60,000 students, The Boston Language Institute provides instruction, translation and interpreting services in over 140 languages, from Arabic to Zulu. Among its popular programs are seminar-style classes in English as a Second Language, as well as coaching in cross cultural orientation for companies and governmental agencies doing business abroad.

The Institute also offers an internationally acclaimed TEFL Certificate Program (English teacher training) that has trained nearly 1700 teachers, hundreds of whom form an international community in over 20 countries, including the United States. In 2002, they pioneered a special program for non-native speakers of English. The Wall Street Journal lauded this program as “one of the better known programs in the country.”

The Institute’s clients include the United States Navy, which flies personnel from the West Coast for specialized language instruction and, among its many university clients, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, which selected the Institute to train their incoming foreign MBA candidates in American language and culture.

The design of their programs includes a commitment to client service. In the words of one recent graduate of the TEFL Certificate Program, “…my choice to work with The Boston Language Institute and experience your program and staff was one of the best decisions of my life. I don’t think I’ve experienced such care and concern about my future outside of my family.”

Salem State University
For the past 20 years, the IEP at Salem State University (SSU) has been welcoming students from over 35 countries to Salem, Massachusetts, a historic, sea-side city less than 30 miles from Boston. Easily accessible by commuter rail and bus, SSU offers students the opportunity to take advantage of activities in Boston and Cambridge while enjoying the benefits of living in a small, walkable city.

SSU offers high-quality, student-centered education at a price which is more affordable than other university based programs in the area. In small classes taught by expert teachers, ESL students build their reading, writing and speaking skills while developing lifelong friendships with students from around the world.

Classes including TOEFL preparation, Academic Skills, US Culture, and Business English are designed to help students build confidence as they develop the English skills they need to become undergraduate or graduate students and to succeed in their professions.

Salem is affectionately known by locals and visitors as “the witch city.” Among the local attractions are museums and theater productions, which tell the story of the witch trials of 1692, as well as a monument dedicated to those who were killed, and a cemetery where the judge who presided at the witch trials is buried. In October, Salem welcomes visitors from around the world to a month of activities and culminating in a citywide celebration of Halloween.

Lizzie Olster is a graduate of Boston University. She blogs about culture and art at