International students share culture, create lifelong connections | Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic Schools Skip to main content

International students share culture, create lifelong connections

December 20, 2018

Did you know that international students study at our Catholic schools? This year, our schools have welcomed 38 international students.

Twenty-nine of these students are studying at West Catholic High School, and nine are studying at Catholic Central in Grand Rapids. These students have come from China, Chile, Spain, Vietnam, and Thailand. In some years, elementary schools have also hosted international students. Pictured above is Huy Nguyen (right), who goes by Jimmy. He is from Vietnam and is studying at West Catholic. He's pictured with Mr. Ryan Corcoran, teacher and international program coordinator at West Catholic.

Even though many of our international students are not Catholic or even Christian, they all participate in religion classes, Mass and other faith activities with their classmates. They are attracted to our schools because of our academic excellence, and because of the safety within our schools and in our broader community.

International students are usually hosted by local families, and these students share opportunities for our young people and families to learn about different countries and cultures. Often, they create lifelong connections. Most of the students are placed by exchange student agencies, which have had a lot of experience in coordinating the admissions and placement processes for the students. Some agencies are small and local, but others are international companies operating all over the world.

Admissions directors and school counselors work with agencies and students themselves to make sure they meet all requirements and will benefit from the wonderful experiences that our Catholic schools provide.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are an alliance of 31 vibrant learning communities that inspire young people to grow in Catholic faith and grace, achieve more in school and life, develop creativity and character, and feel welcomed and cherished for their unique gifts. Learn more here.