Maharishi School gains larger international student base■ International students now make up 30 percent of school, largest group is from China.
International students are becoming an increasing segment of enrollment numbers at Maharishi School as well as at Maharishi University of Management.
In the 2012-13 school year, with a total of 215 students, the private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school has 28 international students boarding with host families and attending high school classes.
The largest group of international students from the same country is 18 students from China.
“We have 11 returning Chinese students and seven new students,” said Richard Beall, director of Maharishi School.
“Our international students need to score a certain minimum on an English proficiency test, so the students already coming here have a grasp of the language.”
Cultural adjustments can be another issue.
“The biggest adjustment for our Chinese students is the food,” said Beall.
“We have an excellent international student advisor, Lijun Cai, who has two boys attending school here. She does a great job connecting with the host families and students’ natural families.
“Now with the availability of Skype, students can literally have face-to-face visits with family back home on a daily basis,” he said.
Students return home during summer break and often during winter break, also.
Maharishi School circulates information about the need for host families to board international high school students, said Beall. Families do not need to have students of the same age attending the school.
“We have quite a mix of host families,” he said. “Some families are empty-nesters, some have younger students attending our school, there’s just a mixture.”
Host families are interviewed and receive a house visit to check on feasible space arrangements and compatibility.
“We assure a good match,” said Beall. “We’ve had to make a few changes and adjustments sometimes.”
While the international high school students coming to the school know some English beforehand, but most do not learn Transcendental Meditation until at the school.
To make a smoother integration for international students with American kids, a global studies class is part of the curriculum. Chinese language classes may be added in the future.
“We celebrated United Nation’s Day of Peace in September with students sharing about their cultures,” said Beall. “We will celebrate Chinese New Year. We want to provide all of our students the opportunity to share their culture and learn about others.”
Beall said he especially enjoys talking with students, getting to know them and hearing stories about life back home.
“Our Chinese students in particular come from a pressure cooker education system,” he said. “Once here and experiencing our school, they appreciate the opportunity and attention they receive from our educators.
“A couple of years ago, one of our Chinese international boys began missing school mid-year. I talked with him and he reported stomach problems. I asked if he wanted to see a doctor, but he said no. We talked some more and it turns out it was the time of year for big exams in the Chinese schools and just remembering that still affected him a great deal.”
Two Chinese students have graduated from Maharishi School and both enrolled at Maharishi University of Management and are doing well, said Beall.
“We’ll have four Chinese students graduate this year,” he said. “We’ll see what their future plans are, we don’t know yet.”
The remaining 10 international students this year come from Germany, South Africa and Mexico.
Maharishi School also has boarding students from New York, South Carolina, Texas and California.