Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a Course

No. Any student serious about language learning can take an OISE course.

This depends on the student’s learning goals. If the goal are specific (for example, using English for a particular field of work or study) or require strictly intensive language study, a Tutorial or Quatorial Masterclass course would be ideal. If the student interested in learning about American culture and history as well as studying English, the course for teenagers would be a great choice.

While OISE is not a testing center, most standardized tests can be taken in authorized centers around Boston. OISE staff are available to assist students with their test reservations, but the students are ultimately responsible for their reservations. Depending on the demand for the test and how many times it is offered in a year, places may fill up quickly, so it is best to book as soon as possible. This is especially likely for popular tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS, and TOEIC. With that said, for most tests, it is not possible to book over 6 months in advance of the test date. Please check the test website for more information.


Use the "Get a Quote" or "Contact" links on any page, or call the number displayed. For course fee payment, OISE accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as international bank transfers.

No. To ensure that all students pay the same amount for the same value and to preserve the integrity of its courses, OISE does not offer discounts.

For Masterclass:

  1. homestay accommodation in single room with half-board (breakfast and dinner)
  2. Audio, video, CD-rom library
  3. support of academic counselor
  4. initial testing service
  5. loan of all course materials
  6. 3 social events per week
  7. course certificate
  8. internet facilities

For Teenagers: Everything but the flight is included in the course fee.

For Masterclass: OISE Boston is open 52 weeks a year, so course dates are very flexible. Ideally, bookings should be made at least one month before the course start date, but the staff do their best to accommodate any requests, according to availability.

For Teenagers: It is recommended to book as early as possible for the summer period, as the courses may sell out, but the staff try to accommodate all requests, according to availability.

Changes in bookings will be processed according OISE’s Terms and Conditions. The relevant sections of that document are written below.

Changes to Booking

If you wish to change your Booking by switching to another Course, you must provide at least 10 days’ notice of such change to Us in writing, otherwise you will be expected to attend the Course originally booked or cancel your Booking under clause 7.

  1. Where you have given the appropriate notice under clause 4.1:
    1. We will refund any difference between the cost of the original Booking and your revised Booking on the last date of the Course to which you have switched (whether or not you remain on the Course for its full duration); or
    2. You may be required to pay any difference between the cost of the original Booking and your revised Booking at the time of your request.
  2. If you wish to take a holiday at any time during the Course, you must give Us at least two weeks’ notice in writing. No refunds are payable in these circumstances.

Cancellations and refunds will be processed according to OISE’s terms and conditions. The relevant sections of that document are written below.

Your rights to cancel and applicable refund
  1. You have the following rights to cancel your Booking:
    1. (a) you have a legal right to change your mind and cancel your Booking within 14 calendar days of the date of your Booking, in which event We will, subject to clause 7.3, refund all of the Fees paid by you including the Deposit; or
    2. you may also change your mind and cancel your Booking at any time after the period of 14 calendar days referred to in clause 7.1(a) but before the Course has begun, in which event We will retain (i) the Deposit and refund the balance of any Fees paid by you where you have cancelled more than 14 calendar days before the Course start date; or (ii) an amount equal to one week of the Fees where you have cancelled less than 14 calendar days before the Course start date.
  2. To exercise your rights to cancel under clause 7.1, you must inform Us of your decision by making a clear statement to this effect by completing the cancellation form on Our website or by contacting Us (see contact details below). Download the Cancellation Form.
  3. The law requires us to obtain your express consent to Us providing Our services where the starting date of the Course falls during the 14 day cancellation period referred to in clause 7.1(a). By making a Booking for a Course which begins during this period, you will be treated as giving this consent. You acknowledge that if you subsequently cancel, We will be entitled to deduct an amount from the Fees paid which is in proportion to the services that We have performed up to the date of your cancellation.
  4. Once a Course has begun, you may cancel your Booking with immediate effect by giving Us written notice if:
    1. (We break this contract in any material way and We do not correct or fix the situation within 30 days of you asking Us to in writing;
    2. We go into liquidation or a receiver or an administrator is appointed over Our assets; or
    3. We are affected by an Event Outside Our Control.

Before Arrival

A course at least 18 hours per week requires an F1 student visa. OISE will issue an I-20 form to assist in this process. For more information on getting an F1 visa, see the Visiting America page. Please contact OISE with any questions.

Yes. For students who require it, OISE issues an I-20 form for an F1 student visa. See the Visiting America page for more information.

It is recommended that students requiring a visa apply as soon as possible, ideally 3 months in advance. This will help ensure that they receive their visa before their planned OISE start date even if there are delays. F1 visas can be issued up to 120 before the course start date. See the Visiting America page for more information. Students are also advised to contact or check the website of the embassy or consulate where the student intends to submit the application for any unique requirements.

Students may be asked for the following documents when they arrive in the United States and should have them ready on arrival at the airport

  1. Passport, which should be valid for at least the period of the student’s intended stay in the United States.
  2. If required: F1 visa, I-20 form, and financial support documents.
  3. Return airplane ticket showing the date of return home.
  4. Confirmation of enrollment in OISE’s program, which shows that the student will be receiving a program of language instruction.
  5. Name and address of the hotel, host family, dormitory, or private residence where the student will be staying.
  6. Student card or business card, which helps show the student’s life at home.
  7. Money, traveller’s checks, or credit cards to pay for incidental expenses.

Yes. In order for to tailor the course to the student’s needs, OISE staff need as much information as possible before the student’s arrival. The student will be sent a link to the online pre-arrival English test, and a time will be arranged to speak on the phone in order to assess the student's spoken English level.

Yes. Students need to bring information about their health insurance on their first day at OISE. It is the responsibility of the student to pay for any medical services received in the United States. Purchasing medical insurance can offset the risk of having to pay high medical bills if the student happens to need treatment during the visit to the U.S. One company that offers medical insurance for visitors to the US is:

Gateway Visit America

Call 1-800-282-4495 or visit their website.

Users must enroll within 7 days of arrival in the US. Proof of arrival date may be required. When purchasing a medical insurance policy, it is advised to review the types of coverage the plan offers. For example, some policies will not cover accidents from sports activities such as skiing or boating.

Life at OISE

Address: 31 St. James Ave Boston, MA, 02116, USA

Office hours are 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. (GMT-5).

For Masterclass: Groups are selected according to a number of factors including the language level of the scholars, what they want to learn, their age, their occupation, and their nationality or native language.

For Teenagers: This depends on the number of students enrolled at the time. When possible, students of the same proficiency level are placed together, while students of the same nationality are split up in order to encourage them to use English for all communication.

Yes, the school has a free WiFi network students may connect to.

Students stay with a local family in their home, eating together in the mornings and evenings for a culturally and linguistically enriching experience.

There are several gyms close by to the school offering short-term membership.

  1. Reebok Crossfit: Crossfit is a type of exercise that is becoming extremely popular in the U.S. Each crossfit workout lasts for 1 hour and is very intense.
  2. Boston Sports Club: A traditional gym with many cardio and weights machines. There are also group exercise classes and a swimming pool.
  3. Back Bay Yoga: Classes in meditation and Ashtanga and Hatha style of yoga. Located very close to the school.
To find a gym close to their hotel or host family, students may ask their concierge or hosts.

The school is closed on the following national holidays:

  1. January 1st (New Year’s Day)
  2. Third Monday in April (Patriots Day)
  3. July 4th (Independence Day)
  4. Fourth Thursday and Friday in November (Thanksgiving)
  5. December 24th, 25th, and 26th (Christmas)