Private school hosts 25 international students

Merit Academy students pose for group picture. (Photo courtesy of Niki Fullmer)
Merit Academy students pose for group picture. (Photo courtesy of Niki Fullmer)

Merit College Preparatory Academy in Springville is in its second year of the international enrollment program, which offers students from all over the world the opportunity to receive an American education.

This program offers international students the chance to prepare for their future in the American academic system. Niki Fullmer, the international studies coordinator, is responsible for making sure the students feel comfortable and are well adjusted into the American education culture.

“American high schools run things quite differently than many countries, especially in comparison with Asian countries. We stress importance on creativity and innovation within the academia experience, as well as the importance of social development espoused in extra-curricular opportunities,” Fullmer said. “Most students don’t get that in the countries they are from.”

Merit Academy also gives international students an edge when applying to American universities.

“These students come to receive an education in America, as well as to prepare them to attend a higher education institution in America,” Fullmer said. “America’s universities are considered world-class, and potential students from all around the world are vying to get a chance to graduate from our universities. Foreign students who attend American high schools have a competitive advantage over other international student applicants.”

Merit Academy offers more than just an American education. Students can also opt into a new program called the Fusion Honors Program.

“The Fusion Honors program is not designed as a typical ‘honors’ program,” said Joni Newman, Fusion Honors Program coordinator. “Typically, the word ‘honors’ in school refers to a select group of students who are considered smarter than anyone else. We sincerely hope that the honors program refers more to a mentality of actively pursuing an education rather than natural academic ability. We want any student who is interested to participate.”

The Fusion Honors Program is designed to expose students to many different areas of influence across the world and involves advanced extra-curricular activities, résumé-building seminars and foreign culture events.

“We believe that this program has the potential to reach and lift students from many different social groups, different family backgrounds and different academic abilities,” Newman said. “It will allow students who are academically strong or not to expand their horizons and challenge their ideas, and it will prepare everyone to better participate in and explore the world around them. Everyone who finishes the program will leave a better student than they were before they started.”

According to Newman, the international enrollment program benefits everyone involved at Merit Academy.

“We’ve seen the international program at Merit as a win-win situation,” Fullmer said. “Teachers love having a different perspective in the classroom. It gives our American students an opportunity to expand their knowledge about world cultures beyond their reach. Studies show that meaningful interactions between students from other cultures enhance students’ well-being, confidence, academic excellence and social responsibility. They get to see that there are other valid perspectives out there.”

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