International Students Preparatory Academy has been very busy meeting with international agents as well as with independent schools in the US. We’d like to share a bit about two of our recent events.
First, we at International Students Preparatory Academy (ISPA) are recently back from the ICEF conference in Miami where we met with several dozen international student consultants from 24 countries around the world. To say the least, it was fascinating and informative.
To be honest, we expected to most of the talking. Instead, we did most of the listening as agents from around the world told us the same thing: that many of their students who come to US independent schools have to work through some real academic and social challenges once they arrive on campus. And, they all agreed that, for the most part, the challenges their students face are the same ones International Students Preparatory Academy has targeted: Conversational ESL class, English class, US and European History class, and Leadership/Public Speaking/Acculturation. Like ISPA, these agents want their client families and students to be happy at US high schools and feel that the placement was a good one with as few challenges and surprises as possible. And let’s not forget the American high schools that accept these students…they want the placements to be good ones, too. Preparation helps!
The other thing we heard from agents at the ICEF conference was that a true academically-oriented summer program with a specific purpose was something that they were excited to finally be able to offer to their clients. Too often, they repeatedly told us, summer programs were “random”, “leisurely” and “mostly playing ”. It was refreshing to them to learn that ISPA was a substantive and targeted program of academic courses taught by the best teachers in America, and that students with a real interest in improving and preparing themselves would be the best-suited candidates.
Second, ISPA is just back from meeting with the administrative team at one of the best independent schools in the American Southeast that has a growing international students program. As we detailed our program to them, there was universal agreement that the challenges ISPA seeks to minimize with new international students are the very challenges that they have experienced with their international students. And they’re not alone…we’ve spoken with dozens of schools who are working through the same challenges.
What all this adds up to is that ISPA is filling a genuine need in the international students marketplace for students, schools, and agents: the need to make the transition from home country to America a smooth one for international students. This is ISPA’s mission, and we look forward to a fantastic 2014.