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International Students: Program Overview

Thank you for your interest in our school. We are situated on 54 beautiful acres of forest, fields, and streams in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 20 minutes from downtown Durham, the Research Triangle area, and RDU Airport. We are also neighbors to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, to name a few.

The Waldorf education system itself is international, and can be found all over the world and on each continent. The Emerson Waldorf School welcomes international students, whether they come on their own or they participate in the exchange program. Our school population overall is very diverse, and our faculty is of a high caliber. Our wonderful community encourages the international students to fully participate in the abundant academic and social life of our school, while allowing them to increase their English knowledge and making connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. In turn, they enrich our school environment with their different experiences, perspectives and cultures.


There are two ways to participate in the program:

→ International Students

  • Lower School students (grades 1-8): they can participate in the program in two ways: either for two (2) to three (3) months as a visitor, or for the full year/multiple years (long-term).

  • High School students (grades 9-12): they can participate in the program in two ways: either for one (1) to three (3) months as a visitor, or the full year/multiple years.   

    Students may not enter as a 12th grade student.

*International students/their parents will be responsible for paying the tuition and corresponding fees for the time they selected to attend EWS.

→ Exchange Students

  • The short-term cultural exchange is only offered with students from other Waldorf schools around the world. The exchange works best if the first student attends the other student’s school, and then the second student attends the first student’s school, rather than a simple swap. Students live with their matching student’s family. Most of the exchanges are with countries where their second language is spoken, but there are other possibilities. Students will not pay extra tuition or housing, but they will be responsible for their own airfare, and pocket money.



Requirements for long-term:

  • International students may come at the beginning of the school year in August (usually around the 20th of the month), or in January for the Spring semester.

  • To achieve maximum benefit for the experience, we prefer and recommend that students attend a minimum of one whole school year.

  • We require a Skype interview as part of the admission process.

  • Students may be required to take ESL (English as a Second Language) classes depending on their level of English.

  • Proof of international health insurance is required at the time of enrollment.

  • Immunization records must be provided; they must be translated into English by a certified translator, and must list the date (month/day/year) of each vaccine.

  • All student’s records must be translated into English by a certified translator and provided at time of enrollment.

Note for both long-term and short-term:

  • EWS does not provide housing for international students. Even though we cannot guarantee housing, we can help in trying to find host families in our community. Please note that we accept international students for lower grades only when they reside with at least one parent or relative locally.


Application

Short-term international students (those applying for less than one year) will have to submit their application to the Coordinator of the International Students Program. Click here to start application.

Long-term international students (those applying for one year or more) will have to submit their application to the Admissions Director.  Click here to start application.


Enrollment Steps for long-term international students:

  1. Complete the online application (including the $125.00 application fee), provide the letters of recommendation, transcripts, medical and immunization forms, current photo and copy of passport

  2. Skype interview with student, parents, and faculty member(s)

  3. Notification of application status  

  4. Review, sign and return contract; pay new student deposit fee

  5. Move forward with Visa application

  6. Once Visa granted, pay full tuition

  7. Provide proof of housing arrangements along with form signed by student’s family granting host family parental authority

  8. Enroll in classes, receive schedule.

The Emerson Waldorf School is registered with SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, and is authorized to help facilitate the process of obtaining I-20 visas once enrollment conditions have been met. Applicants must allow six to eight weeks of lead time for this process prior to the beginning of the school time.  

Enrollment Steps for short-term international students:

  1. Complete the online application (including the $125.00 application fee), provide the letters of recommendation, transcripts, medical and immunization forms, current photo and copy of passport

  2. Provide proof of housing arrangements along with form signed by student’s family granting host family parental authority

  3. Enroll in classes, receive schedule.

Requirements & Information regarding the Student Exchange Program:

  • Exchanges are only offered for students from other Waldorf schools

  • Students are not required to take the TOEFL exam, but a working knowledge of the English language is strongly recommended to be able to participate in the daily classes and activities.

  • A recommendation letter from the student’s English teacher is required.

  • Typically, the exchange takes place during 10th grade.

  • If accepted, the student would typically continue to pay tuition in his/her own school, and our exchange student would continue to pay tuition here.

  • The student application must be completed (and application fee must be paid). The application includes a student questionnaire, a parent questionnaire, two letters of reference, and an agreement to follow the school’s media policy, dress code, drug and alcohol policies, as well as local laws. The parents are also required to sign a document giving authority to the host parents to act as the parental authority while the exchange student is staying in their home.

  • Immunization records must be provided; they must be translated into English by a certified translator, and must list the date (month/day/year) of each vaccine.

  • Once all the required paperwork has been received, the student/parents will be contacted with information on possible exchange partners.

  • Once an exchange partner is established, the final arrangements can be made.