International students bring pieces of the world to North Hills students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

What do Korea, Lithuania, Brazil, Germany, France, Australia, China and the Bahamas have in common with Salisbury? They are the home countries of recent or current North Hills Christian School international students.

“When your mission statement is ‘to equip the hearts and minds of students to impact the world for Christ,’ it only seems natural that part of the equipping is to open their eyes to a diversity of people and cultures of the world,” said Katie Campbell, director of recruitment and retention for North Hills.

North Hills has a rich history of inviting youth of the world to be a part of their educational environment.

Campbell goes on to explain, “The presence and engagement of our international students adds a cultural education and experience that cannot be taught from a textbook.”

For both the international and local students, it is an opportunity to learn about a number of different cultural and community perspectives. As students work to understand different languages and cultures, the experience helps everyone involved develop an awareness of group dynamics and sensitivity toward the perspective of others.

Another unique aspect of the international program is the opportunity for the families of Salisbury and the surrounding communities to welcome an international student into their home.

When speaking about the international program, Maria Lowder, executive director of NHCS says, “What an awesome opportunity to develop lasting global friendships and be a part of the solution of building cultural bridges around the world. Just as having the international students in our school offers the opportunity for our students, teachers and parents to better understand and develop a broader interest in the global issues of our time, welcoming an international student to live in your home encourages everyone involved to gain a broader general knowledge of the world in which we live.”

Currently enrolled at North Hills are six international students representing three countries: Korea, China and Australia. Frank Wu, a student from China, excitedly shared what an awesome experience it has been attending school in the U.S. He has been warmly received by his fellow students and absolutely loves his host family.

Wu and his family in China worked with a placement representative in the U.S. to help identify the school he wanted to attend his senior year. The process included an extensive admissions evaluation as well as a Skype interview with school administration. Other than the cold, he has been very encouraged with his experience and looks forward to applying to Wake Forest University as he continues his education.

Deborah Gilmore, Wu’s host mom, shared how positive the experience has been having him in their home.

“Kids are very special,” she said. “I can tell you there has been so much laughter in our home with Frank here. He is getting a taste of what an American family is like, and we are able to be a part of his life. The whole experience has made us more thankful for the abundance we enjoy and the opportunity we have to share.”

If you are interested in learning more about hosting an international student, North Hills is conducting an informational meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 8:30 a.m. Representatives of North Hills and a local placement representative will share information and answer questions. For more information, contact Katie Campbell at 704-636-3005, extension 109.