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International students make Archbishop Ryan their new home

International+students+most+commonly+known+by+their+peers+as+Jaden+and+Edison+interact+in+second+period+Media.
International students most commonly known by their peers as Jaden and Edison interact in second period Media.

International students most commonly known by their peers as Jaden and Edison interact in second period Media.

Lexie Flynn

Lexie Flynn

International students most commonly known by their peers as Jaden and Edison interact in second period Media.

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       Imagine being in a new country, a new home, and a new school and knowing absolutely no one. For about 110 students at Archbishop Ryan, this is their reality.

      Senior Gangeon Kim, more commonly known as Jaden, came to Archbishop Ryan in 2014. Seven years ago, he had spent time with his uncle in San Diego and that experience made him want to know more about how Americans live, Kim explained.

     Kim previously attended a high school in Michigan, which he described as extremely small. After this experience, he explained to the Nacel Foundation, the program through which Kim came to study in the U.S., that he was interested in a larger environment with more diversity.

     He now stays with a host family close to Archbishop Ryan. He described them as nice and welcoming.

     Kim stated, “I like Archbishop Ryan and wanted to continue and end my high school education here. Overall the students in the school are nice and it was easy for me to get involved. I joined the bowling team last year and it helped me to become more social. I met good coaches and even better friends. My favorite memory here at Ryan was prom. I have been to other proms before but AR’s junior prom was so fun!”

        Kim also shared that his experiences at Archbishop Ryan has made him want to continue his education in America and he is applying to five U.S. universities.

      Senior Matiss Kulackovskis from Saldus, Latvia, came to Archbishop Ryan his junior year for basketball. Kulackovskis plays on the boys varsity basketball team and lives with junior student Devon Vargas.

        The diverse student population is something some students say they like about Ryan.

       Senior Amber Schiliro stated, “When walking through Archbishop Ryan the diversity is undeniable. I think having international students gives us an advantage as much as it gives them.”

         With more than 100 international students from China, Vietnam, Korea and Ukraine at Archbishop Ryan, Schiliro is right that the diversity cannot be missed.

       “We all think differently and see things in a different light. When they share their perspective it helps me to see how they view things,” continued Schriliro.

       At Archbishop Ryan, the students and faculty try to help international students adjust to a new lifestyle. The Select Club, moderated by Ms. Trish Young, through communication and cultural exchange helps the international students with their swift transition to the American lifestyle. The students are treated like any other and the Ryan community wants them to succeed.

Teacher Eric Sarappo student council moderator, stated, “A positive is that we have students that do become very engaged in our school life. This is a good thing for these students because it is very hard for a student to go to a new country and try to fit it. Last year, we did have a student be apart of student council and he wanted to make our school a better place. If these students get engaged with the school life, then they will have a better time socially which can, eventually, help them with learning some of the English language by communicating with our American students.”

      The majority of the international students at Ryan are from China. Most of the Chinese students — just under 100 at the moment and more expected in January — came here through Three W International.

      It works with a network of agencies around the world to advertise Archbishop Ryan and the city of Philadelphia, to recruit students, and to assist them in their school and visa applications.

      Three W International, is the North America’s leading international student management company for U.S. private schools.Their goal is to have these international students enroll for multiple years with the intent of graduating from a U.S. high school.

      They currently have more that 2,000 students in more than 200 schools in the United States alone.  

      The Nacel Open Door Foundation arranged for Kim to study at Ryan. The Nacel Open Door has a wide variety of programs to meet the various desires and needs of international students who are interested in exploring the world.

For students who want a full year of study in another culture, Nacel offers academic programs in both private and public schools. For those students more suitable for short-term programs, Nacel offers tutorials, homestays, and touring programs.

       Now that they are in America, Kim and Kulackovskis stay with host families. However, most of the Chinese international students live in a dormitory on the Archbishop Ryan property that is managed by Twinn Palms Homestay.  

       The Twinn Palms Homestay is a management service devoted to providing extensive service to students, schools, and host families. Twinn Palms has an exclusive agreement with Archbishop Ryan to fill and manage the dorm.

       “Simply put, some students are better suited to living in a homestay, and others better suited to living in a dormitory.  It is very similar to how some kids prefer to move away to college, and others stay at home while they go to school.  We work with our students’ parents to find the best possible situation for each individual,” stated Richard McGovern, the Residence Coordinator for Northeast Philadelphia.

        When the program first started back in 2013 the dorm at Ryan only had four students. Now there is 50 students in the dormitory and it is the largest in the Homestay system. There are also Homestay students at St. Hubert’s and Hallahan and dorms at Conwell-Egan and Neumann-Goretti.

 

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