American Language & Culture

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Program Dates: Session 1: July 30-August 26, 2017 || Session 2: August 6-September 2, 2017
Open to: Undergraduate & graduate university students from Asia (must be 18 or older)
Location: Stanford University
Application Deadline: Varies by university - please check the timeline tab below

The American Language & Culture (ALC) program combines academic English classes with educational activities aimed at exploring contemporary American culture. English classes are offered by the Stanford Language Center, and are designed to improve students’ oral communication in English while providing analysis of a variety of sociocultural issues especially in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area.


For 40 years the ALC program has been bringing East Asian students together to improve their English skills, experience the American lifestyle, and build long-lasting international friendships. The program is jointly offered by Stanford University Summer Session, the English for Foreign Students Program at the Stanford Language Center, and VIA.




How to learn more!

Click on the blue tabs below for more information about the programs. If you have any other questions, check our ALC FAQ Page for more details. If you still have other questions, you can email us at

The program fee includes:

  • Stanford tuition (approximately $3,400)
  • Dormitory housing
  • Full meal plan
  • Organization visits and volunteer activities
  • Guest speakers & panel discussions
  • 24-hour support from on-site VIA staff

Total: $7,100 USD (approximate)

The program fee does NOT include:

  • Airfare
  • Visa or ESTA application fees
  • Fees associated with international payment (e.g., international bank transfers or credit card fees)
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional activities
  • Personal shopping expenses

ALC 2013 Participant Masaya“Although the program is called “American Language and Culture,” I’ve certainly learned a number of things about the cultures of other Asian nations as well. During the month at Stanford, I spoke with many of the other Asian participants about the similarities and differences between our cultures. I was fascinated every time when I found differences between our cultures even though we are all from Asia, and also when there were similarities despite the fact that there are also aspects where we feel we come from completely different worlds. The daily conversations we had with each other are what built the everlasting bonds among us, and also what gave me an open mind towards different senses of values and ways of thinking that people from foreign countries have.” – Masaya Tatsuta, ALC 2013 Participant, Doshisha University


ALC 2012 Participant Denise“The ALC program opened the door to a summer school with diverse students and opportunities for thorough English practice and social communication. ALC was exactly the kind of program I was longing for. And in fact, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. After the program, I decided to study Japanese. Every time when I hear myself speaking in Japanese, I feel closer to my ALC friends from Japan. Through the program I experienced that close human connections is what can make things different.” – Heng (Denise) Tang, ALC 2012 Participant, Peking University

Information Sessions in Asia


  • National Cheng Chi University (NCCU) – first week of March
  • National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) – first week of March

Hong Kong – March 30

  • Lingnan University – March 30, 13:00-14:00 @ AM 201, 2/F, Amenities Building
  • Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) – March 30, 16:30-17:30 @ Room 1015 (Lift 3)

Beijing – April 11

  • Peking University (PKU) – April 11, 15:00 @ Room 305,  School of Economics Building
  • Renmin University – time & location TBD


  • Keio University, Hiyoshi Campus – April 12 & 14, 12:20 – 13:00 & 13:20 – 14:00 (both days) @ 日吉コミュニケーションラウンジ、学生活動支援スペース 第4校舎独立館B1F
  • Waseda University Study Abroad Fair – April 14-15 & 28, 2017
  • Meiji University, Izumi Campus – mid-April, exact date TBD
  • Hitotsubashi University Study Abroad Fair – April 19, 2017, 13:00-16:30
  • Sophia University – mid-April, exact date TBD


  • Kyushu University, Hakozaki Campus – mid-April, exact date TBD
  • Kyushu University, Ito Campus – mid-April, exact date TBD

Application Deadlines by Region

Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan


  • National Taiwan University (NTU) – March 24, 2017
  • National Taiwan Normal University – March 24, 2017
  • National Taiwan University of Science & Technology – March 24, 2017
  • National Taipei University of Education – March 24, 2017
  • Macau University of Science & Technology (MUST) – March 10, 2017

April 16, 2017

  • All other universities in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan
Japan and all other regions (dates and times are in Japan Time, unless indicated otherwise)


  • Doshisha University – April 17, 2017


  • Hitotsubashi University – May 8, 2017 @ 12:00 PM
  • Waseda University – Priority Deadline: May 11, 2017, Final Deadline: May 20, 2017

May 14, 2017

  • All other universities in Japan and other regions of Asia

Late May (exact dates TBD)

  • Rikkyo University
  • Keio University

Application Process
To apply to ALC, you must be 18 years or older by the first day of the program. The online application has two sections. If your online application is accepted, you will be invited to participate in an interview with one of the program staff.

Part 1: Basic Information

  • Personal Information
  • Academic Information
  • Contact Information
  • Postal Addresses
  • Demographic Information (required by Stanford University)

Part 2: Short Essay Questions

  • Why do you want to participate in the ALC program? What do you hope to learn or achieve?
  • In your English class, you will do a project on a particular aspect of contemporary American culture that interests you. You can look at past topics here. You can choose topics that are NOT on this list as well. Please describe 2-3 topics you are interested in, and why.
  • We would like to get to know you better, so that we can tailor the program to your interests and needs. Please write 1-2 paragraphs describing your hobbies, your character, and your plans after graduation.

Essay-writing tip: Review the questions and begin writing your essays in a Word document. You can take your time and check your English while writing them. When you are finished, you can copy/paste them into your application. This way, you will also have a backup copy of your essays.

After beginning your application, you will be able to save your progress and continue working on it later.

If your application passes the initial selection process, you will receive an email confirming your interview 24 hours in advance. Interviews will last about 10-15 minutes. If your application is not selected, you will be informed via email.


  • Waseda University students, please first apply through the Center for International Education (Ryugaku Center).
  • Doshisha University, National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Taiwan University of Science & Technology, and National Taipei University of Education students, if your application passes the online selection, you will be informed by VIA or your university and sign up for interviews through your school.
  • miec-logoFor applicants from Taiwan outside of the schools listed above, if you are interested in applying, please contact our partner Luke Liu (luke @ of the Ming Shin International Education Center or visit the Ming Shin International Education Center website: