ETHOS Language School

An American school with native speakers located in Cebu City, Philippines


We have a collection of "Frequently Asked Questions" from past visitors and students. Look through the list below and click on the link of a question you want. The link will take you down in the list to that question. After the question, you will find a "back to top" link to bring you back to the top of the list.

If you do not see the question you wish to ask, CLICK HERE to go to the bottom of the page where you can enter and send your question through an email. We will do our best to respond within 24 hours!

Regarding COVID-19 and ETHOS…

1. What is the current situation for COVID-19 in Cebu City?

The COVID-19 situation here is almost back to what things were like before any of the restrictons began. You may be required to wear a mask on the plane on which you travel to Cebu, but after you land you can remove it! There is NO mask requirement in the airport or outside the airport. We do not require masks here in ETHOS, except in cases where a student developes a respiratory illness. However, this has been our health policy since we started ETHOS over 10 years ago. Of course, we recognize that some students might wish to continue wearing masks. This is quite alright with us. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable. .

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2. Is it safe to come study at ETHOS?

It is safe to come study with us because we are very serious about keeping you safe. We have a company Health Officer, who makes certain that all staff and students of ETHOS stay safe!

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3. Is there good medical care in Cebu City?

Cebu City has some of the finest health care facilities in the country. We have a company nurse who monitors the health of all staff and students. We have a nearby doctor who looks after minor illnesses and we are only about 10 minutes away from the closest major hospital. If you have international health insurance, you will not have any problems.

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4. Is ETHOS now open for study?

Yes, we have been open since September of 2020.

If you can come to the Philippines, you can come study with us. We can accept foreign students for classroom studies, and we can also have online studies with our foreign students.

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5. When can I come to study at ETHOS?

You can come anytime you like! The only thing that will affect your ability to come is how full we are at the time you wish to come. At present, our maximum student capacity is 30 individuals. Contact us for more details about availability of housing and class bookings.

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6. If I make a reservation and pay the deposit, then later I must cancel, can I get back my money?

Please study our Payment Rules page. In order to make a reservation with us, you must pay a non-refundable reservation deposit. This deposit will not be refunded, even if you have to cancel because of something like COVID-19.

We will refund any balance payment you might have made, but if there are bank charges and transfer fees to get your money back to you, these will be deducted from the amount.

Instead of asking for a refund, we recommend that you consider rescheduling and come study with us at a later date. We will hold your deposit for up to 12 months so that you will not lose your money.

In addition, we highly recommend that you make your payments through credit card because this is the easiest way to receive a refund. It also has the fewest charges for refunding your money back.

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Regarding ETHOS…

1. Why do you call yourselves ETHOS?

In ancient times, the Greek word ETHOS represented the idea of CUSTOMS or HABITS! We chose the name ETHOS because our main business goal is helping people change their lives. Additionally, ETHOS is an acronym and stands for “Ethics To Help Others Succeed,” which is our registered company name.

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2. Is ETHOS a registered corporation?

Yes, ETHOS is registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and we have a business permit from the Cebu City government. In addition, all our language programs are registered with TESDA, and we are a recognized Tourist Training Program with the Philippine Department of Tourism.

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3. What is the FOCUS of your business?

We provide training programs to help people accomplish their dreams. Our main focus is upon teaching English and Japanese languages, but we also provide training in Public Speaking.

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4. Who may enroll in the ETHOS programs?

We accept individuals traveling by themselves for enrollment in our programs if they are at least 15 years old. We accept children under 15 if they are accompanied by a parent and the parent and children study together in our Family Program. We also host English camps for groups of children as long as the group is accompanied by a chaperone from their home country.

We will consider ANY request we receive, but we reserve the right to refuse training based upon our age policy.

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5. What are the rules regarding paying for the training?

We have a strict pay-before-study policy. We accept payments in cash, credit card, or bank transfer. We also accept e-wallet payments (GCash or Maya) for local students. Regardless of how the payments are made, we require full payment before classes can begin.

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6. What are the rules regarding price quotations you give to your customers?

All price quotations are valid for 14 days. If you do not decide to enroll by the end of the 14 days, we will give you a new price quotation and the new price might not be the same.

Special promotional package rates are only available for a very short period of time, and they often have a limited number of seats and are given on a “first come, first served” basis.

We are currently having a 20% OFF sale, which will remain valid at least until March 31, 2024.

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1. How many different kinds of English study options are there?

Our English program has two study options. You can study face-to-face classes in our school facilities here in Cebu City, or you can study online.

We can accept students of all English levels. We assess students and then place them in LOW, MEDIUM, or HIGH level groupings. Our teachers work with the students of each level to help them improve.

We have a FREE ONLINE ASSESSMENT TEST. Anyone is welcome to take it and we will send an evaluation. Either click the link or scan the QR code to go to the site.

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2. Do you offer man-to-man study options?

As a rule, we offer only GROUP classes. However, we sometimes accept man-to-man classes, but this is usually during the lean-season time of year. We will always offer a man-to-man study option in our online program. Group classes are available for BOTH classroom and online study options, and the maximum size of any group class will be six (6) students.

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3. What is the FREE 15-minute tutoring?

Even though you will enroll in GROUP classes, we offer free man-to-man tutoring after school each weekday. During the morning class sessions, students can sign up for a FREE 15-minute man-to-man session with an American teacher after school. During these FREE 15-minute sessions, students can study anything they want.

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4. My English level is very low. Can I still come to ETHOS?

Yes you can. When you arrive, we will give an assessment and then place you into a study group that will help you improve your English no matter how low your starting level might be.

If you have a low level, we recommend that you study at least 4 months.

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1. Can I enroll even if I have no previous Japanese language study experience?

Yes you can. We accept students with no prior knowledge of Japanese. Our teachers are skilled in the language and we sometimes have several Japanese native speakers studying English at ETHOS with whom you can practice speaking your Japanese. Contact us and we will help set up a program that is right for you.

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2. Do you give a certificate after finishing the course?

Yes, if you complete all of the training hours of the course in which you enroll, we will give you a certificate showing that you completed that number of hours. In addition, if you complete the program and submit your school credentials to us, we can apply a Special Order (S.O.) Number at TESDA and can give you a training certificate with an approved Special Order Number issued by TESDA. We can also provide a course description you can give to employers or school administrators so that people will know exactly what you studied and learned.

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3. How many different Japanese courses can I take?

We have Japanese training courses for JFT exam, and the JLPT: N5, N4, up to N3. Each level requires 150 hours of study. As long as you complete the first level, and show that you have passed that material, there is no limit to the number of courses you can take. You must take them one course at a time.

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4. What is the JLPT exam I read about in the course explanation page?

JLPT stands for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and it is administered by the Japanese government in Japan and in many foreign countries. The test certifies the Japanese language proficiency level of non-native speakers. The test is given in July and again in December, therefore training for these exams needs to start early enough so that students have at least 150 hours of classroom training before the exam date.

As a bonus for our students who are planning to take the JLPT tests, we assist them to file their applications at the Japanese Association Cebu office.

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5. Why should I study the Japanese language?

Learning a new language can bring new opportunities into your life! Learning Japanese can also help you make new friends. If you know Japanese very well, it will help you advance your career and get higher paying jobs! There ARE many employment opportunities available in Japan for Filipinos, however you MUST be able to speak Japanese well (at least a JLPT N4 level) in order to be hired.

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6. What are your available Japanese class schedules?

Our regular class schedules are: MWF and TTh. Each session consists of 2-hours of instruction for a total of 25 hours per module. After the first 25-hours, you continue onward until the entire 150 hours are completed. You only pay for each 25-hour "module" as you take them. This allows you to spread the payments out over time.

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7. How do I enroll in your Japanese language course?

You must pay a deposit fee to reserve a slot. Fill-up the enrollment form, sign a contract and submit a certified true copy of your school credentials.

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8. Do you have teachers who are Japanese native speakers?

At this point in time, we do not have any Japanese native speakers teaching in our Japanese language program. However, we have well-trained Filipino teachers that are certified to teach the courses in which you enroll.

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Regarding HOUSING…

1. How much does housing cost?

Each housing options has a different cost. The cheapest is our DORMITORY apartment, the next cheapest is HOME STAY, and the most expensive is OUTSIDE STAY.

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2. Can I have a private room?

Staying in private rooms in ETHOS housing is similar to having man-to-man classes. During PEAK SEASON, we are fully booked with shared rooms, however, during the LEAN SEASON, private rooms might be possible. If you want a private room in the dormitory or in home stay, ask us and we will be happy to check the availability.

If you must have a private room, we can book one for you in one of our OUTSIDE STAY facilities. We have good relationships with several local hostels and pension houses that are only a few minutes away from our school.

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3. Can my girlfriend/boyfriend and I share a room?

We are a family business, and deeply respect the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. While we respect your rights to freedom of choice and privacy, we also ask that you respect our core family values at ETHOS.

Therefore, while we respect your right to be together as a couple, we do not accept unmarried or same-sex couples staying in the same room in ETHOS HOME STAY or DORMITORY housing. If you wish to stay in our ETHOS housing, then you must accept our policy, and stay in different rooms.

Males and females can share a room if they are married, or are close relatives, such as brother and sister, parents and children, or cousins. However, if you are not married or are a same-sex couple, and really wish to stay together, we can help you book a room at one of the nearby hostels or pension houses.

Our dormitories are co-ed, however, there are separate rooms for males and females. We also have an ETHOS staff manager who also lives in the dormitory.

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4. Is there a curfew at ETHOS?

Yes, we do have a curfew. We are responsible to the Philippine government for the actions and the safety of our students. Since students of ETHOS need to be ready for classes each day, we impose a curfew of MIDNIGHT (00:00 AM) on school nights (which are Sunday through Thursday).

No ETHOS student should be out after the midnight curfew on school nights without permission. For students who violate the curfew, we reserve the right to expel them from the program and send them home. In addition, they will lose the remaining tuition fee they paid. As long as students remember that they are at ETHOS to study, and NOT to cause trouble, they will be fine.

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5. Can I cook meals in the kitchen of a HOME STAY house?

HOME STAY houses, are the personal homes of our American teachers. As a guest, you are entitled to use the bedroom in which you are assigned, the bathroom, as well as have access to all common areas of the house. Most host families do not allow students to use their kitchens, but some are more flexible than others. Therefore, do not assume anything, but ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION FIRST before using anything in the house!

Our DORMITORIES have a complete kitchen and HOME STAY students are allowed to cook in the dormitory. However, if you use the dormitory kitchen, you must coordinate with the ETHOS dormitory manager, and clean up the dishes and kitchen area after you are done!

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6. Can I arrive at ETHOS a few days early or stay a few days after my study so that I can go sightseeing?

We ask all our students to arrange your flight schedules so that they arrive at ETHOS on the Sunday before classes start, and leave ETHOS on the Saturday, after the final classes are done. However, we understand that scheduling flights can be difficult and sometimes, a student might need to arrive a day or two early or stay an extra day or two after your study is finished. We understand this and want to help.

Therefore, if you need to come early or stay longer, then please check with us to make sure that we have space for you in our housing. If we have the available space, we can accept you and you will simply pay a daily rate for any extra days that you stay in our housing. Please understand that if we do NOT have space, then you will have to make your own housing arrangements for those extra days in outside housing.


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1. Do I need a visa to study at ETHOS?

All foreign nationals must have a visa to enter the Philippines. Most countries are given FREE 30-day visas upon arrival at the airport. Please check with the Philippine Embassy in your home country for details. Currently, the Philippine government requires either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test before your departure from your home country. However, vaccination is no longer required for entry into the country. (We STRONGLY recommend that you NOT take ANY or any MORE COVID-19 vaccinations, as they are causing more harm than good all over the world.)

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2. What is an SSP?

In addition to having a visa, all foreign nationals who want to study English here must get a Special Study Permit (SSP) from the Bureau of Immigration, and the school must get this for the student after the student arrives in the Philippines. The SSP costs about US$120.00 and is valid for a study period of 6 months.

In addition, the SSP is school-specific. Therefore, if you get an SSP from one school, and you transfer to a different school, you will have to get a new SSP from the new school.

Finally, since the SSP is only valid for 6 months, if you plan to study longer than 6 months, we will be required to get another SSP for you, which will allow you to have an additional 6 months of study.

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3. Can I stay longer than 30 days?

Yes, of course you can. You can extend your visa at our local immigration office, and each month of extension costs about US$75.00.

In addition, we will do all your immigration work for you. Other schools often charge a service fee for this, but at ETHOS you will only pay whatever the Immigration receipt indicates, plus the transportation for our school immigration officer.

Similarly, if you stay 2 months, or longer, we will also have to get you an ACR iCard from Immigration. This will add another US$50.00 to your immigration costs. The ACR iCard is valid for 1 year.

Also, if you want to stay for 6 months or more, you are required to get an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) before you leave the country, and this costs about US$17.00.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please plan your trip carefully because even if your visa expires 1 day before you leave the country, you will still have to pay for another month extension just for that one day!

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4. Is there an airport departure tax when I leave Cebu?

Currently, there is no airport tax to pay, either for domestic or international flights out of Cebu. However, before the pandemic, here in the Cebu there was an airport tax of 850.00 Pesos, which is about US$17.00. All departing international air travelers leaving out of Cebu had to pay this. (We will update this if there are any changes to the airport policy.)

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Need more information?

Thank you for visiting our website! If you would like more information about something, CLICK HERE to submit an email form. You should receive a response from us within 24 hours.

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WELCOME to our site!
At ETHOS we have happy students!
And serious students!
English is fun!
We often celebrate!
You'll be part of my family!