International Student Program
The Pella Christian High School International Student Program offers international students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to receive a quality, Christian education that will prepare them for success at the university level, while also increasing diversity on the Pella Christian High School campus, benefitting the entire student body.
Whether applicants are seeking a semester experience or a four year education in pursuit of a high school diploma, we work with every international student to help them achieve their academic goals.
The Pella Christian High School International Student Program accepts applications directly from student applicants. If you prefer to apply through one of our partners located in your country, please contact us for a list of recommended agents and partners.
1. Submit an Application
The following are required of all applicants:
- Application form
- Copy of passport
- Official school transcripts
- Two teacher reference letters, including one from an English teacher
- Writing sample
- iTEP Slate, TOEFL, or TOEFL Jr. test scores
- Test scores are not required for international students already studying in the US.
- When taking the iTEP, select Pella Christian High School from the drop-down menu as an automatic recipient of test results.
To apply, contact Program Staff for step by step application instructions.
2. Complete a Video Chat Interview
During the application process a Skype or WeChat video chat will be scheduled for the student. No preparation is required by the student. After the chat, parents are invited to ask questions of program staff.
3. Receive an Admissions Decision
An admissions decision will take 2-10 business days. The student or student’s representative will be contacted with the admissions decision as soon as possible. If accepted, the student will receive:
- Official Acceptance Letter
- Enrollment Contract
4. Sign Enrollment Contract and Make Payment
The student’s family will have approximately 15 calendar days to accept or reject the admissions offer. Families may accept the offer by returning the signed enrollment contract and making the required deposit within the 15 calendar days. If the student is accepted within 3 months of the start of program, quicker action may be required.
5. Obtain Student’s F-1 Visa
Upon receiving the signed contract and tuition deposit, the school will issue and physically mail the I-20 Form to the student’s home address. The I-20 Form is needed to schedule an F-1 Student Visa appointment at a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The family should pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and schedule the visa appointment right away.
6. Prepare for Arrival
With the I-20 Form, the student will also receive an acceptance packet. This packet includes a variety of forms that must be completed and signed before arrival. Scanned copies of the form should be sent as early as possible, and original copies should be hand carried when traveling to the US. The student will not be permitted to attend orientation or classes without these forms.
The student is asked to complete a homestay questionnaire. Based on these answers program staff will arrange a host family.
Family of the student makes the final tuition payment as required by the enrollment contract terms, prior to the program start date.
Contact program staff to verify program start dates before finalizing travel arrangements.
7. Begin Your Adventure at Pella Christian High School
Host families will greet their international student at the airport upon arrival. Prior to the first day of school international students will complete a week long orientation, including classroom instruction, activities and field trips.
All of us at Pella Christian High School are looking forward to having you join us.
Phone: +1 (641) 628-4440
Fully accredited with certified teachers, Pella Christian High School is known for its high academic standards and vibrant student culture. Pella Christian High School provides a liberal arts education with rigorous college prep classes as well as courses in industrial arts, fine arts, and family consumer sciences. AP classes and advanced courses for university credit are also available for students looking for an extra challenge. And our Winterim program allows students to engage in unique learning experiences through trips, internships, and non-traditional classes.
International students receive full academic support from a certified English as a Second Language instructor. International students are placed in an ESL class with an emphasis on academic writing. With specialized English instruction and additional academic support in other subject areas, international students at Pella Christian High School are given support to achieve their academic goals.
Pella Christian High School offers international students a valuable Homestay (Host Family Boarding) opportunity. We place international students with host families who have strong ties to our school and community. The family environment provides numerous advantages for international students.
- Accelerated English acquisition in a total immersion environment
- Ongoing cultural adaptation and understanding
- Personal attention from a family
- Consistent communication about a student’s well-being between parents and the homestay family
Homestay placement is based on the student’s profile and preferences. All host families undergo a rigorous screening process which includes an application, background check, interview, references, and periodic in-home checks. Each family supports the mission of Pella Christian High School and is committed to providing a caring home environment for students from other countries.
The homestay includes:
- A bedroom and study area
- Three meals a day, including one meal at school during the week
- Transportation to and from school, extra-curricular and education-related activities, Des Moines International Airport, etc.
- Guidelines for students and homestay families that ensure clear expectations for daily living
- Ongoing access to program staff who arrange student placement in a host family and facilitate communication between parents, home stay families, and students
Pella Christian High School offers a vibrant student life program for international students. We believe the presence of international students enhances the school community for everyone. Most international student life activities include American student ambassadors who have been chosen to engage with international students and help ease them into life at Pella Christian High School. This program provides a rich social and cultural education for all students.
Some examples of typical events:
- International Cuisine Night with foods from around the world
- Autumn Festival including a hay rack ride, hot dog roast, and pumpkin carving
- Boating and a picnic on the beach
- Rock climbing
- Christmas caroling
- Drive-in movie night
- Overnight trips to tour and experience student life at a variety of colleges and universities
- iClub – an international club which promotes cultural awareness within the student body
The town of Pella, Iowa is rich in heritage and beauty. It is home to many successful local businesses, global corporations and large-scale agricultural operations. Pella is well known for its friendliness, cleanliness and hospitality. For more information about our wonderful community:
Pella Area Community & Economic Alliance
Pella Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
Ziqi (Zack) Shen, China
I graduated from Pella Christian High School and went on to study in the University of Pittsburgh, PA, seeking double majors of History and Communication. While I was trying to adjust myself into the new community and confront new challenges in college, I found myself more prepared and confident than other Chinese international freshmen in my school. The education I received from PCHS armed me with both knowledge and great experiences, which helped me a lot in my college daily life.
Dan Vermeer, PCHS History Teacher
The International Students have enriched my classroom. As we learn about different people and places around the world, students at PC can put a name and a face with what we are studying. When Ukraine was threatened with war from Russia, we knew students from there whose families were affected. When we learn about Chinese history, students from China add a great deal of value and perspective. When we study the War on Terror, we have had students from Afghanistan who can tell us their experiences and perspectives. When we learn about the role the US has had in Central and South America we have had student share their view of America’s role in the world. It is very interesting to see how the rest of the world views the US. Having international students is great because they help bring the world to PCHS.
Gabriel Soler, Brazil
I graduated from Pella Christian and am planning on majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurship Management at Trinity Christian College. PCHS is not only a school, but it is also a family. Leaving a big city and going to a small Dutch town seemed like a big cultural shock, but the family atmosphere made it so much easier.
If you want to make a difference, PCHS will definitely give you a chance to do that! There are so many different activities to do. Because of the combination of great people, education, and Christ-like teachers, PCHS is the best fit for any foreign exchange student looking for lifelong friendships, academic success, and spiritual growth.
Sohee Kwon, South Korea
PCHS has educated and nurtured me to serve God’s world in many ways. I would not have the same dream right now if the teachers at PCHS did not teach me. They taught me really well, so I could have a good base and study further to be a doctor. They always tried really hard to hand the knowledge that they have to me. It wasn’t easy to keep up with all the assignments and tests, but it was totally worth it, and I am really thankful for that. I will become a doctor so that I can serve and glorify God by healing other people. I will never forget how to serve others and God because I have seen it so many times how other students and teachers serve at PCHS.