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International Students

Our students come from all corners of the globe and our campus culture is rich with languages, backgrounds, and family stories. Students are encouraged to celebrate their heritage and share it with their fellow students. 

We welcome students from all over the world to study at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. Our international student program was created in the 1980s and since then, we have had students attend from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, and more. Our English language classes teach students how to write, read, converse and understand English while the social immersion saturates students with language learning. Our caring staff assists applying students through the I-20 process, and helps make the transition into living in the US as easy as possible.

Arrival Information

New international students are encouraged to arrive on campus for New Student Orientation, the Wednesday before registration to rest and get settled into the dormitories before classes begin. If any new international students need transportation to Rio Lindo Adventist Academy from the airport at the beginning of the school year, parents should e-mail the school with the airline, flight number, and arrival time. Rio provides airport transportation for all new international students in August. At all other times, students should take the Sonoma County Airport Express bus to the Sonoma County Airport, where a Rio staff member will pick them up and bring them to Rio.

English Class Placement

As part of the registration process, all new international students are given an English proficiency exam to determine each student’s placement in the proper English class. This test evaluates a student’s speaking, listening, reading comprehension, and writing skills. After the test has been graded, each student will be placed in one of the following three levels:

  1. English as a Second Language
  2. Integrated English (advanced ESL class approved by the University of California as a regular English course)
  3. Mainstream English class corresponding to the student’s grade level

The registrar will determine a student’s grade level based on an evaluation of the students official transcripts as well as the results of the English proficiency exam. All transcripts must be submitted with the completed application for accurate grade placement.

Student Life

An important part of every international student’s education is learning to speak English. To be successful as a student at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, students are encouraged to speak English in all classes and throughout the school day. Rio accepts students of all religious faiths and backgrounds. Because Rio is a Christian school and religious values are an important part of our school program, students are required to attend scheduled religious services during the day and on weekends. The cafeteria serves three well-balanced vegetarian meals per day, Monday through Saturday, and two meals (brunch and dinner) on Sunday. The menu includes dairy products and meat substitutes; however, no meat or fish is served.

two international boys study together in class

“The teachers at Rio and the boarding environment have greatly enhanced my English skills. The classes have been challenging, but teachers have persistently motivated me both in the classroom and in life.”

Zhenghao ZhangShanghai, China

Tuition and Fees 2024-2025


  Total Fees
Full Year Boarding $40,000
Semester Boarding Tuition $20,000


The full year’s or first semester’s payment is due at registration.
If applicable, the second semester’s payment is due in January. 

A $5,000 deposit is required before the I-20 form is prepared and sent to the family. The deposit will be applied to the first semester’s tuition amount after the enrollment date. The deposit will be refunded only after two documented unsuccessful attempts for a visa application.

Rio’s international student program fees are all-inclusive and include room, board, all meals, and all ESL courses and instruction. 

Discounts & Scholarships

Prepayment Discount

A discount of 1.0% is given for payments made by bank funds transfer, check, or cash for the full year’s tuition in advance.

Family Tradition Discount

For students of Rio Lindo alumni.

$500 per year for second generation.
$1500 per year for third generation.

Sibling Discount

A discount of 2.5% is awarded to families with two or more students simultaneously enrolled at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy.

Leadership Discount

Student Association (SA) officers and Major Class Officers are eligible for a leadership scholarship for the school year that they are in office. Students run for office in the last month of school for the following year.

Academic Scholarships

For students with an attendance grade of ‘B’ or better and the following GPAs, applied to the end of the semester.

4.0 GPA: $250 per semester
3.75 – 3.99 GPA: $125 per semester

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do international students go during home leaves?

Throughout the school year, there are occasional short breaks called home leaves in addition to Christmas and Spring Break. These breaks occur about every six weeks and last for 5-6 days. For students who live too far to travel home during these short breaks or don’t have a sponsor nearby, Rio offers an International Home Leave Plan for them, which includes activities and local travel opportunities. There is an additional fee for this service. Please note: The campus is closed and all students must leave during Christmas Break in December and Spring Break in March.

Banking: How do I set up a bank account?

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to take the student to set up bank accounts at the beginning of the school year. Students can open a bank account at local banks in Healdsburg. There is Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and many local banks and credit unions that are familiar with international and boarding student accounts. Parents can transfer money and monitor spending through most banks online. To set up an account, the student needs a government-issued ID (passport), their I-20 form, and cash to deposit. Also, if the student is under 18, a parent/guardian must sign the account application form.

We do not recommend students keep large amounts of cash in their rooms. Please see the dean to lock up cash, passports and valuables for safety purposes.

Cell Phones: How/where can my student get a cell phone?

Verizon, AT&T and other cell phone companies all work on campus. Both Wal-Mart, Verizon and the AT&T store (both located in Windsor, about 15 min away) have flexible deals and phones for students to use. The best option is to get a pre-paid plan so you don’t have to sign a contract.

What kind of food is served in the cafeteria?

The cafeteria serves three nutritious meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and two meals (brunch and dinner) provided on Sunday. Based on our vegetarian principles the cafeteria provides a delicious, healthy, well-rounded meal for our students, essential for growing minds. Most food is organic, prepared fresh, and has options for students with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free or vegan.

Religious Services: What kinds of worship services are held at Rio?

Rio is a Christian school and worship is an important part of Rio’s school program. Rio respects all backgrounds and many of the worship services are led by students. Every morning, students attend a school-wide assembly, and in the evenings they have a short worship in the dorms before study hall. On Friday nights, the school holds a worship service and again on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am until noon. All students are required to attend all worship services.

Town Trips/Shopping: How can my student get to town to go shopping?

The school takes a bus to town each month and students can shop at the supermarket, Wal-Mart, or the local mall in Santa Rosa. If a student has an urgent need to buy something, he or she can speak with a faculty member during the week and try to find a ride into town that way. There is no public transportation from the campus to town. Students can receive packages and order food on Sundays from food delivery services such as UberEats and GrubHub. We encourage all students to plan ahead so that they are prepared for the week.

School schedule: How does the class schedule work?

Rio has a block schedule, which means students will not have every class on every day. We have a two-day rotation cycle, called “A Day” and “B Day”. Students attend their “A Day” classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, and their “B Day” classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays alternate between A and B days. This information is listed on the school calendar.

College and TOEFL testing: Where can my son or daughter take standardized tests?

Rio in an official standardized testing site and regularly administrators the SAT, and ACT tests as well as other annual achievement tests to track student learning. Students can obtain information about TOEFL testing from the ESL teacher or the registrar.

Accident/Medical Insurance: Does Rio provide medical insurance?

Rio does not provide medical insurance for students. The student’s family health or international travel insurance plan is the primary coverage for school activity-related injuries. Students are covered under a 24-hour accident insurance plan which provides secondary coverage, if needed, for school activity-related injuries. If you have not made arrangements for medical coverage for your student, you may want to consider obtaining appropriate coverage. You may visit for examples of the types of coverage for students studying abroad.

Illness: What happens if my child gets sick?

If your child wakes up in the morning and is feeling ill, he/she inform the dean that they don’t feel well. The dean will monitor the illness and contact parents and medical personnel if the illness is severe. While sick in the dorm, students must stay in their rooms and rest. Food will be brought to their room for them. If necessary, deans will take students to a doctors office with parents permission. The closest hospital for emergencies is 12 minutes away by car.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester (August) enrollment 
    • Application due by June 1
  • Spring semester (January) enrollment
    • Application due by November 1

Space in our international program is limited. Late applications will be evaluated only if space is still available.

  • All application documents must be received before a student’s name will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for consideration.
  • The student will receive notification of his/her admission status upon receipt of the completed application and Skype/Zoom interview. Once a student has been accepted, an official acceptance letter and I-20 form will be sent to the student (or agency) via international express mail. The student should then make an appointment with a U.S. consulate for an interview to apply for an F-1 student visa.

Note: It is not our standard practice to accept incoming seniors into our program. 


Rio Lindo Adventist Academy is conveniently located an hour and thirty minutes from San Francisco International Airport, an hour and twenty minutes from Oakland International Airport.

Healdsburg, the closest town is eight minutes away by car and is a charming small tourist town. The closest general goods shopping is Windsor, about twenty minutes away.

3200 Rio Lindo Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448

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