university year abroad in california

Academic Gap Year Abroad in California

Achieve a high level of English, interact with international and American students, and experience life as an American college student! With CISL’s Pre-University Academic Year, students first enroll in CISL English courses and interact with our diverse student population (click here for a chart of CISL’s diverse classroom). Students also attend CISL’s TOEFL preparation classes and gain the English skills necessary to succeed in the rigorous academic environment of an American college. After successful completion of CISL classes, students transfer to a San Diego or San Francisco community college and attend courses with American students for one semester.

The Academic Year Program (AYP) gives students the opportunity to improve their general and academic English skills at CISL and then attend a semester at a college in California. It is popular with recent high school graduates taking a gap year and students who want to attend an American university. 

Ambitious students who want to experience American college life can appreciate the adventure of studying in a college in a new country with the support of CISL along the way. CISL helps students to prepare for their semester academically, personally, and linguistically. Before the college semester, students have already made friends at CISL, honed their general and academic English skills, and received guidance and advice from the CISL staff so that they can enjoy their college experience without stress.

Students in the CISL Academic Year Program must take at least 16 weeks at CISL and enroll in one semester at a participating college. The specific CISL course plan depends on each student’s language proficiency and goals, but most students take a combination of the following courses:

Please click on any of the above courses for more information.  

Grossmont College

grossmont college gap year

Located in the rocky and rolling hills of El Cajon, San Diego’s Grossmont College provides more than 150 graduate and certificate programs in the Arts and Sciences. Over the last ten years, this expansive campus has undergone an extensive remodel and now boasts beautiful, modern facilities including a new library, cafeteria, and several newly updated buildings and laboratories. The college is easily accessed by public transportation and also has a new parking structure with ample spaces. Grossmont College has over 15 collegiate sports teams and over 30 clubs and student organizations like the Arabic Club, Chinese Club, French Club, International Club, and Science Club. It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Campus Statistics

  • Motto: “Changing Lives Through Education”
  • Established in 1961
  • 150+ certificate or associate degree programs
  • 19,000 full or part-time students attend each semester
  • International students from over 50 countries
  • 1 out of every 3 residents of San Diego’s East County has attended courses at Grossmont or its partner, Cuyamaca College

Community College of San Francisco (CCSF)

city college san francisco gap year

As the largest community college in California, the Community College of San Francisco (CCSF) offers over 50 academic programs and degrees in the Arts and Sciences. The school boasts over 80 clubs and student organizations and has several campuses located throughout the Bay Area. The CCSF’s impressive sculptures, found on its expansive and green campuses, reflect the creative and vibrant student population. The Community College of San Francisco is accredited by Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Campus Statistics

  • Motto: “The truth shall make you free”
  • Established in 1935
  • Over 33,000 full or part-time students attend each semester
  • 50+ academic programs and over 100 occupational disciplines
  • Multicultural student population: CCSF’s diverse demographic includes a high number of international students (over 250 alone in the world-renowned Hotel and Management program!)

Berkeley City College

775 berkeley college

Located just two blocks from the University of California, Berkeley in a charming city of the same name, Berkeley City College (BCC) serves as the academic community for thousands of Bay Area residents. The college’s modern campus (completed in 2006) provides state-of-the-art facilities for students enrolled in the dozens of programs offered. Whether interested in the Arts (such as Literature, Philosophy, Multimedia, and Cinematography) or the Sciences (including Biology, Computer Information Systems, and Psychology), BCC has a program to match your academic interests. The college also offers numerous student clubs for those interested in furthering their studies or hobbies outside of the classroom. Berkeley City College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Campus statistics

  • Motto: “From the ground up”
  • Established in 1974
  • Over 20 degree programs in the Arts and Sciences
  • 7,000+ full or part-time students attend each semester
  • Multicultural, multiracial student population

Note: The Academic Year Program is full‐time; students enrolled in the Academic Year Program are eligible to receive an I‐20 from CISL to apply for an F‐1 student visa. For more information about U.S. visas, please read the visa information here or contact us directly using the online inquiry form.

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AYA Partner Schools

cisl grossmont college gap year in california

Grossmont College, San Diego

cisl ccsf gap year

City College San Francisco

berkeley gap year

Berkeley City College