In 1966 Menaul School was one of the few schools that was approved by the US State Department to receive international students. With your background in international admissions, tell us why that was significant and what that approval means for Menaul School today?

It’s significant because it demonstrates our long history of welcoming students from all cultures, countries, and backgrounds. World Smart exemplifies not only who we are but what we do. I think about the students that came in the early years, 1960s and 1970s. They had to be pioneering and brave to travel to a new environment on their own at age 15 or 16 – learn new customs and often a new language. All our international students are incredibly brave for doing so, and the early students paved the way. The authorization allowed us to go out into the world and include students in our community from many different countries. We aren’t limited by location or proximity. World Smart can be available worldwide.

How have you seen international admissions change in recent history in general?

I imagine in the beginning, people heard about Menaul School by word of mouth and recommendations from the Presbyterian church. Word of mouth is still important today, but now the industry has grown considerably and professionalized. Now we go out into the world and attend recruitment conferences, hosts webinars, have Zoom meetings with parents, students, and educational consultants – all a plane ride away or even at a click of a button.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Menaul School in Albuquerque was not well known outside the region. Today we are building a presence, global network, and recognition and expanding reach.

How has admissions focus evolved in the past 11 years since Menaul reopened its boarding program in 2010?

We have diversified considerably. In the early 2000s, study abroad at US boarding schools was a known path in only a few countries. Nowadays, it is known throughout the world. Each year we have between 15 and 20 countries represented in our international student body. We have had more than 50 nationalities represented overall.

Tell us what percentage of students are international day or boarding students and what countries they represent.

In a normal, non-pandemic year, we have anywhere from 40 to 55 international students. In a school of 200 students, they represent 25% of the population.

In the 2020-21 school year, they represented:

  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • UK
  • Ukraine
  • Vietnam

Our American students are also diverse and multi-cultural, so this list increases with their backgrounds and country representations as well.

What do you perceive to be some of the greatest gifts international students provide to the Menaul School community?

Having international students enriches the community, and it brings new perspectives into the classroom. Our students learn cross-cultural communication in a hands-on way. They interact with individuals each day who have different viewpoints, but they learn to find common ground and celebrate diversity. These are skills that are extremely useful and applicable in their future.

Additionally, we have the unique opportunity to develop lifelong ambassadors for Menaul School to their home country!

What are the benefits that you see international students gain by coming to NM and Menaul School?

Attending Menaul School is an excellent way for students to prepare for college, practice their English, build friendships, and experience our culture and beautiful landscapes. We also have a pathway to in-state tuition for international students, which is a testament to New Mexico’s friendly, welcoming environment.

What is your hope for the future of international admissions at Menaul School?

To continue to expand our reach, to give students in all corners of the planet access to a world-class education, and to continue to build linkages with schools and contacts around the world

Where has Menaul School been recently?

Menaul School is on the road around the globe! In the last three years, we have visited 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Eurasia, Central and South America to promote our World Smart education. This year, due to the pandemic, virtual recruitment has expanded, and we have met with students, parents, consultants, and stakeholders from over 65 countries.

In-person visits:

South Korea


Where are we heading next?

Tentative plans include the following:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Republic of Georgia
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Chile
  • Saudi Arabia

Favorite so far?

Impossible to choose! I have appreciated the warm welcomes I have received from families and students in each country. If the students join later join us at Menaul School, we get to return the favor and welcome them here to our community!

Interested in international enrollment at Menaul School? Contact Laura Hille today.

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