Local Star | American English Institute



ieshineon_american english institute_local star interview



Hello Friends & Neighbors –

At IEShineOn.com, we pride ourselves in providing the Inland SoCal community with only the top recommendations for all things local. This brings us to the American English Institute in Riverside, California—the location for the best Intensive English Language Programs for both international and local students. As home to many top universities like University of Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino, the Claremont Colleges and more, there is a demand for all types of education support programs, including AEI’s various intensive English programs.

We had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with the visionary and Director of AEI, Ms. Sandra Adams to find out more about what makes American English Institute a top-notch school that stands apart from its competitors. 

Q. Tell me about yourself and your business. 

A. My name is Sandra. I’ve worked in intensive English language programs for the last 23 years. I’ve worked for UCI’s and UCR’s intensive English programs, and then for one of the largest private language systems in the US. From there I decided to open American English Institute myself. We are an academic Intensive English Language Program to help students improve their language in order to go on to colleges and universities.

Q. What inspired you to get into education?

A. It was by accident. I needed to finish my last year at UCI, and if I worked there, I knew they would pay my tuition. It was very practical, and then I happened to get a job as the Assistant to the Director in their Intensive English Program. That’s how I started, but I never thought, ‘I’m going to get into education.’ It was by accident. 

Q. When did you see a need for American English Institute?

A. Intensive English programs are designed to help students go to universities. Students come here to get their English skills up. With a number of good universities in this area like UCR, Redlands, Cal Baptist and Loma Linda, and not a lot of quality English schools, there was definitely a need for American English Institute. That has absolutely contributed to our success. We’re smaller, so students get a lot more personal attention than they would in a bigger institute. 


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Q. How did you come up with the name of your business? 

A. It was quite hard to come up with the name. In ESL, there are different variations on the name for an American English School, Center or Institute. A lot of the straight-forward names are taken, and I wanted it to be obvious, to where people could look and say, ‘Okay, I know what that is.’ We included American in the name, because there are differences in American English and other dialects like Australian English, etc. 

Q. Where is your facility located?

A. We are in beautiful Riverside, California, about two miles from downtown Riverside. 

Q. What are your aspirations for your business? 

A. There is so much that can be done within ESL. What I love about it, is we are really providing students with something they need. And it really is something that will help them reach the next level in life, reach the next goal. So we are one step on that journey.

For many students, coming to a foreign country can be difficult for them—they don’t know the education system, they don’t know the language. The larger picture of AEI is figuring out how can we help people even more on their journey. At this stage, I don’t know what that is going to develop into. Ultimately my goal is to grow this school, get accredited and have multiple locations. My goal is to be the best private English school in the United States, because although there are a lot of language schools, there are not a lot of high quality language schools out there.


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Q. What types of programs and services do you offer your students?

A. We do the home-stay placement, and that’s important because when students come they need a place to live. Living with an American host family gives students an opportunity to speak English, practice their English, learn about the culture, and make friends with Americans. That’s why home-stay placement is probably our number one service. We also do college and university placement, so we help students to find the school that meets their needs, help them to apply, help with the test prep, get health insurance and more. Another service we offer is airport pickup.


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Q. What is AEI’s most popular class?

A. Our general eight-week Intensive English class is the most popular.

Q. What is unique about American English Institute?

A. I’ve worked in many different intensive English programs, and this point in time most are getting really large. I started out in education when the programs were smaller, and educators were able to get to know students and make really good friends with them. When you get to larger institutions, educators don’t know the students anymore. At American English Institute, we believe students are the core of what we do, and it’s important to always maintain a connection to that. We really do get to know all our students, and I’m very hands-on, so I know what is happening. Plus, I think we’re unique in that we still offer really personalized service and pristine quality education. 

Q. What is your favorite part about your job?

A. Students are definitely the best part of the job. Even after working with students for 20 years, I am still awed, fascinated and delighted by them. I love learning about their cultures and about them. Each one is different, and they each leave a deep and lasting impression.

Q. Where can we find more information about American English Institute?

A. The best way to get more information is to call us at 951-824-6150. We can be found on the web at www.american-english-institute.com. They can also come into the school at 5225 Canyon Crest Dr. #450A, Riverside, CA 92507 anytime between 9a.m. and 6p.m. There is some information on Yelp as well.

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