Thank you for your interest in WEP-USA and working with the most amazing youth from Europe. WEP treasures its partnership with schools, and hopes this website provides you and your administrators with enough information to be comfortable and excited about bringing WEP students to your classrooms.
It is hard to say who gains the most when international students decide to study in an American high school. For both public and private schools, the tuition these students pay will increase the school's educational revenue and offset the decline in local student numbers. However, the benefits of having international students are not just economic and financial. They are much longer term. These students get a unique experience in an American school, while living with a caring and loving host family. These same students go back home after their program is over and achieve high-level positions in their countries. As a result of this cross-cultural experience, they have a positive perception of the U.S., which aids the American foreign diplomacy efforts tremendously. Having international students in your school will provide cultural opportunities for the entire host community and will enrich your classrooms beyond their borders.
WEP-USA is happy to work with both private and public schools across the U.S. that are accredited by the educational accreditation agencies of their state. All schools have to be SEVP-Approved, which means that they have to be certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue the SEVIS I-20 document to eligible international students, so that they may apply for the F-1 Student Visa at a United States Consulate overseas.
WEP students are boys and girls who are between 15 and 18 years old. They are at least intermediate-level English speakers, have strong academics, and are very excited to come to the U.S.
WEP European offices screen every applicant for leadership potential and maturity to make sure the student can thrive in a foreign environment. The students are selected as part of a three-step process, which includes an extensive written application, in-person interview, and group evaluations.
WEP-USA wants every student to make the right program choice. For this reason, a group of psychologists are invited to the evaluation meetings to assist with the student selection process. Using a protocol developed exclusively for WEP and refined in recent years, WEP-USA aims to better evaluate the different attitudes and motivations of its candidates. A combination of a test/interview and individual psychological assessment adds a broader insight into the student's personality, in addition to the evaluation of his/her educational achievements and language competency.
WEP-USA provides each interested school with a complete student application, including certified transcript for the last three years, full immunization and medical records, teachers' recommendations, and student's essay. WEP students are also available for SKYPE video or phone interviews to confirm their strong command of English and motivation to study in the U.S.
During the program year or semester, most of WEP students live with an approved and fully vetted host family in the school's district. However, there are some students who may choose a boarding option if available. All WEP students come with full medical insurance and their monthly allowance, and are eager to be active members of the school's community.
WEP students are honored to represent their countries and give back to their host communities. As part of the 'WEP Passport' Initiative, the students celebrate International Education Week in November by making presentations to their classrooms about their countries. The younger students learn to color the country's flags, while the older school children enjoy re-enacting famous history moments, following a traditional recipe, or watching a traditional dance. For Earth Day in April, WEP students organize and share ideas to join cultures on meaningful ecological projects to save our planet, while learning about one's culture and traditions.
WEP students are encouraged and are excited to get involved in a variety of school and community activities, as these are excellent ways for students to make friends and avoid culture shock and homesickness. School sports are also an excellent way for students to become involved and experience the American school life. WEP-USA does not guarantee their participation on the school teams but makes recommendations of what is available based on the student's interests.
It is solely up to the school to decide if a student is allowed to receive a diploma and/or participate in the graduation ceremony. Some schools are pleased to grant high school diplomas to international students who are seniors and meet their state or district graduation requirements, while others only allow students to walk down the isle, attend the prom and receive a Certificate of Completion. WEP students are always informed in advance of the graduation policy of their selected school to prevent possible confusion or/and disappointment.
A local WEP-USA Support Counselor in the community will support all program participants, including your school, student and his/her host family. Each Support Counselor goes through a rigorous training process and has to pass an exam to be certified as a WEP-USA support field staff member. Your Support Counselor will also serve as a point person for the WEP-USA National Office.
Overview of the SEVP certification process: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/schools/certification
Train your staff on SEVIS with free WEBINARS: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/webinars
ICE Web-based training for designated school officials: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools/new_schools/
More on the F-1 student visa: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i17/i17_1.htm