Preparing global citizens
to have a global impact!
Because the body of Christ is made up of peoples “from every tribe and language and people and nation,” (Revelation 5:9) we celebrate diversity and embrace students from every culture and tradition.
The International Student Program is having an impact on the entire school community by broadening global perspectives, developing cultural understandings, and creating a passion for God’s people!
The presence and involvement of international students in our school community:
- Celebrates the diversity of God’s creation
- Fosters an environment for cultural exchange
- Supports a student community comfortable with and able to engage with other cultures
- Brings new insights and different perspectives into class discussions
- Develops awareness of and appreciation for international issues and events
- Prepares students to live and serve in the global community having a global impact!
Grand Rapids Christian Schools has had a vibrant international student program for more than 10 years, hosting students from Hungary, Brazil, China, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain, Switzerland, Uganda, Morocco, Albania, Italy, Belize, Chile, Nigeria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Peru.
Grand Rapids Christian High School has state of the art facilities with the most up to date technology. Each student receives a MacBook Air computer to use for the school year. A wide selection of classes are offered from a range of subjects, all of our teachers are highly qualified, and our school has an excellent track record of grades, test scores, and university entrance.
Our international student counselor attends annual conferences on the university trends and acceptance rates for international students. She meets with the international students regularly one-on-one to help him or her decide which university is a best fit for them, and she walks them through the application process step by step to ensure their success.
There are many opportunities for students to talk with college representatives who visit the high school. We also provide opportunities for university visits. Students have the opportunity to take day and weekend trips to a variety of well-known universities.
All GRCS International student graduates in the past 5 years have attended university, many of them top universities including Duke University, University of Michigan, Penn State University, UCLA, New York University, Purdue, George Washington University, Drexel University, Wake Forest University, University of Washington, Wheaton College, Carnegie-Mellon University, Calvin College, Baylor University, Virginia Tech, Fordham University, Emery Riddle Aeronautical University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and James Madison University.
All first year international students attend English Lab where they receive individualized support on their schoolwork. This class also helps students adjust to the new culture and expectations. The teacher guides many activities and discussions on American culture and teaching and learning styles.
One-on-one tutoring is provided for first year students focused on the student’s individual learning needs.
English language support is provided for all international students at Grand Rapids Christian High School for no extra fees!
- English Lab is a course designed…to help them adjust to a new education system, culture, and to improve their academic English skills, including the ability to read and respond to academic texts. All first year international students take English Lab for one year.
- Students learn essential academic vocabulary based on word lists for the TOEFL, ACT, and SAT.
- Daily and weekly assignments, class discussions, and presentations are aimed at fostering analytical thinking and develop the English skills needed for specific projects and assignments at GRCHS.
- This course also serves as a homeroom for new international students, providing them regular contact with the staff of the International Student Program.
ENGLISH AND ACADEMIC TUTORING
- One-on-one English tutoring is provided for 1-2 hours per week for first-year students and others who we feel will benefit from the extra support.
- The student will receive individualized help on school work and have access to study materials provided through our school’s educational support services.
SMALL CLASS SIZES
- The average class size at GRCHS is 20 students and the teachers are extremely supportive of each individual student.
- The most common feedback we hear from international students is:
“The teachers really care and are willing to
take extra time to make sure I understand the material.”
- A series of Saturday workshops are offered by a highly experienced SAT/ACT expert.
- SAT/ACT workshops are provided regularly for international students, and students have consistently improved their test scores after attending these workshops. International students at GRCS on average improve their SAT English score by 117 points and their ACT English score by 6 points after 2 full years at GRCS.”
We believe that a balanced lifestyle is extremely important to overall health, therefore all international students are required to participate in at least one extra curricular activity.
The school offers a wide range of opportunities and some of the most popular groups our international students are involved in include Science Olympiad, Chess Club, Forensics, Drama productions, Robotics, Adventure Club, Puzzle Club, Art Club, and a wide variety of athletics teams.
Involvement in these activities help students discover and develop their talents, improve their English, understand American culture, and reduce stress.
It is our vision to educate the whole student, so in addition to supporting each student academically we invest in his or her social, emotional, spiritual, and character development.
This happens through small group lunch meetings, intentional mentoring, host family care, and partnerships with local churches.
Teachers also incorporate character development in their daily lessons. Honesty and trustworthiness are essential qualities for a successful student at Grand Rapids Christian High School and in higher education.
Emotional maturity is best
nurtured in a family setting.
All our international students are placed in a Christian family and each host family is carefully screened through a thorough application process.
The school operates as its own agency therefore we selectively choose our own host families and provide training and support for them throughout the year.
We understand that a student’s experience with their host family is extremely important for their own growth and maturity.
During our extensive two-week orientation program new students get to know our community and feel prepared for the first day of school.
Students attend a one-week American summer camp where they get a real taste of American culture, try new challenges, and get to know many American teenagers. After camp they spend a weekend in Chicago to experience a big city in America.
The final week of orientation camp is spent at our high school getting to know the school community, academic expectations, extra-curricular opportunities, how to get around the school, meet several teachers, and get to know the city of Grand Rapids.
It’s not easy being away from home so we provide many opportunities for students to get together and get involved.
We celebrate major cultural events, organize a three-day retreat for International Students in the fall, provide a Spring Break trip, and promote other school retreats and activities such as football games and school dances.
Through getting involved in these activities the students really become a part of our community, feel at home, and build lasting relationships.
- Joelle Williams, International Student Program Director
- Julie Watson, International Student Program Assistant