An International Mindset

Middle School students show off their new skill of drawing Chinese characters, thanks to visiting students from Shenzhen, China.

As a traditional Chinese dragon puppet wove its way through the halls of Carlisle and students chatted in foreign languages, one wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Carlisle is an international school. The dragon, egg rolls served in the gazebo, and Chinese decorations adorning the school buildings were all part of a Chinese New Year celebration for 12 students visiting from Shenzhen, China.

In addition to attending classes at Carlisle, the visiting students, who lived with Carlisle families during their stay, participated in school field trips to the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, the Museum of Life + Science in Durham, NC, among other locations, in the hope that they will enroll in Carlisle’s International Program.

The International Program formally began in 2005 as a hosting program with just three students. The next year, the number of international students more than doubled to eight.

Growing numbers warranted the school’s acquisition of a home on Carlisle Road in 2007 to serve as a boarding house. Two years later an adjacent house was purchased to serve as the girls’ boarding house, and the number of international students reached 33.

Students have enrolled from Australia, China, Columbia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Romania, Uganda and Yemen. Currently there are 21 international students enrolled at Carlisle from China, Ecuador, Japan, Serbia and South Korea. Students can either reside in the International Residence Houses or live with a Carlisle family.

Lindsay Favero serves as the International Program Coordinator, in addition to teaching Upper School Spanish, to provide academic advising and support, and coordinate school break travel plans, community service and school involvement.

Students from Carlisle and Shenzhen, China, visit the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

This past fall, Favero implemented a Prologue Weekend for international students before the traditional new student orientation. The weekend included area events and outings as a fun way to break the ice before the school year began, and for the students to get to know Favero, the other faculty, students and each other.

“It is wonderful that Carlisle has a blend of domestic and international students,” she said of the program. “This helps all of the school community to develop a world view, value and respect diversity, and gain understanding of other cultures.”