WAnet (pronounced “wah-net” and stands for Wheaton Academy Network) is a supporting organization of Wheaton Academy (West Chicago, Illinois) with staff and recruiting partners based in the United States and internationally.
WAnet’s focus is three-fold:
- Equipping Christian schools to better care for international students
- Preparing international students at the Summer English Institute (SEI)
- Placing international students in American Christian schools
Over the past decade, the international student HomeStay program at Wheaton Academy, which began with just two international students, has grown to nearly 60 international students from 7-10 different countries, or around 8% of the high school’s overall 660-student enrollment.
As students from China, South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, and other countries had incredible college-preparatory and life-changing experiences at Wheaton Academy, the school found itself in the position of not being able to accept many quality international student applicants due to lack of space.
In 2010, rather than turning these students away to find other schools on their own, other like-minded Christian schools were contacted to see if they would be interested in accepting international students recruited and vetted by Wheaton Academy.
As a result, WAnet was founded, an association of like-minded Christian schools throughout the country welcoming international students into their school communities. WAnet became a source of international student recruitment, student evaluation, and support for other Christian schools.
Summer English Institute
At the same time of the growth of Wheaton Academy’s international student program, the need for an extended and comprehensive orientation and English preparation program before the start of each school year for new students became apparent. What began as a one-week orientation program for students at Wheaton Academy turned into a two and three-week program, and then a four-week program, eventually being held on Christian college campuses. SEI has grown from just 37 students seven years ago to 140-190 students each year, becoming one of the best summer programs for international students in the country. Over the past seven years, nearly 1,000 international students have graduated from SEI. SEI welcomes international students looking for a short-term American education experience as well as students preparing to enter American Christian middle and high schools.
SEI 2018 will be held July 13-August 6 or 10, 2018 on the campus of California Baptist University in Riverside, California.
With thousands of middle and secondary international students entering the U.S. to attend private schools each year, WAnet continues, with dependance upon the Lord, to equip Christian schools to better care for international students, prepare students for success in American Christian schools, and recruit and place students in Member Schools, all to the glory of God.