International Students Enrich the Educational Experience for All Those at Holy Trinity

By Pat Craig, Director of Enrollment Management
It is widely viewed that the students from other countries are the ones gaining the most from attending school in America. But the students at Holy Trinity are also benefitting from having students from around the world in their classrooms.

This year at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, 5.5% of the 580 Upper School students were on F-1 student visas from Korea, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Sweden. Next year, students from Japan and Germany are also expected to attend. Chinese students are the largest number of students now seeking a high school diploma from the United States and most of those students attend private/Christian schools. Often, the ultimate goal for international students is to become a competitive candidate for college admissions in the United States, but they also benefit from the quality of American education, and the opportunity to improve their English language skills and to absorb American culture.

International students bring a new perspective to their American peers by sharing their culture and views on the world, enabling all students to gain an appreciation of others’ experiences. The University of Florida has more than 7,000 international students, so the likelihood of our students being in class or having a roommate from another country when they move on to college are great. Our alumni often comment to us that they were thankful for the opportunity to make friends with international students while at Holy Trinity, as these experiences helped them build friendships and work successfully with others in college and in their careers.

Holy Trinity is recognized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, as an approved school with the ability to issue I-20 forms. Once a student has been accepted at Holy Trinity and has been issued their I-20, they may interview at the United States embassy in their country for an F-1 student visa. This visa allows them to attend school in America until they graduate. Students may continue on to college on the same visa. As long as they are studying at an approved high school or college, they can remain here.

At Holy Trinity, international students live with host families that are vetted through our office of international admissions. Occasionally a student will already have a host family that is a family friend or relative. Most depend on Holy Trinity to make those arrangements. Hosts go through a background check as if they were employees of the school. “I like to have my students live with families that I know personally or that families from school know,” said Mrs. Craig. “It is important to us that these students that have found their way to Melbourne and Holy Trinity receive a great education and are taken care of by good people.”

If you or a family you know is interested in hosting an international student, please contact Pat Craig at pat.craig@htes.org.
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