ESL City Government Academy

San Mateo ESL City Government Academy photo
The City of San Mateo, in partnership with the San Mateo Adult School, now offers a unique English as a Second Language (ESL) City Government Academy. The Academy is designed to expand participants’ awareness of local government, City services, and increase civic engagement, leadership, and volunteering.

Participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Learn how the San Mateo City government works.
  • Know about services and programs offered by the City and how to access these.
  • Understand how to participate and get involved in issues that affect the community.
  • Meet members of the City staff and City Council.

Program Objectives

  1. Participants feel empowered and comfortable to access City services and programs.
  2. Participants feel prepared to engage further with the City.

What Participants Are Saying about the Academy

"Before I took this class, I thought that it is not necessary that I know about San Mateo deeply because I am a temporary resident. However, through this program I visited many places, learned about San Mateo, and now I love San Mateo more and more. San Mateo became my second home town!"

-student Haruka Sasaki

"I learned the most important muscles of a firefighter is their heart."

-student Gabby Ramos

"I learned Parks & Recreation offer various classes for different ages, and they also provide community gardens where residents can plant vegetables and fruits."

-student Anita Hsu

"One of the most valuable things I learned is that the police do not want to know the immigration status of the person who needs help."

-student Williams Avelino

"The police here are so different from what I imagined. They're so friendly and helpful."

-student Grace Jiang

"In the future, if I need permits I can just go to City Hall and a Chinese translator will help me. I don't have to worry about the language obstacle."

-student Grace Jiang

"The wastewater treatment plant day was the first time in my life I learned that bacteria can help us purify the environment. It's amazing!"

-student Andy Hoo

" I honestly think I'm so lucky to live in San Mateo because the City organizes so many events and programs for the community. These kinds of programs help me integrate into the community here."

-student Edwin Turuy

Hours and Location

The program is held Thursday mornings between 9am-12pm at different City facilities.


Currently, this program is open only to those who are enrolled as ESL students at the San Mateo Adult School. Any member of the community can enroll in classes for free at the Adult School (learn more about how to register for classes).

The space, currently limited to 25 participants, will be awarded to those who submit the application, commit to attending the full program, and to completing assignments related to this program. When there are more applicants than spaces, preference will be given to City of San Mateo residents.

For more information about this unique program, Denise Garcia can be reached at or (650) 522-7277.