International Student Information


Rockford Lutheran School has been working with international students seeking a Christian education in the United States for over 10 years. We will work directly with a family or through an intermediary recruiter or foreign exchange placement company. The following companies currently work in tandem with Rockford Lutheran School to secure international students, host families and the success of the overall program.

  • ASSE
  • PSE – Private School Exchange
  • IE – International Experience
  • USA Program

This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.

Tuition & Fees

2023-2024 Full International Student Tuition is $17,500 USD (annual)
(This rate includes all general enrollment and registration fees. Other course, sports and activity fees may apply.)

Homestay placement coordinated through a recruiter may involve additional fees paid directly to the recruiter. Rockford Lutheran School will provide a homestay with a host family for a fee of $10,000 (annual)

Potential International Student

Thank you for your interest in the International Student program offered at Rockford Lutheran School.  The following will be required* for consideration:

  • School Transcripts
  • Read and write English at a junior high level
  • Communicate verbally in English at a conversational level
  • Submit a personally written essay entitled, “My Favorite School Subject”
  • Standardized test results from TOFEL or SLEP
  • Immunization History
  • Birth Certificate, translated in English
  • Health physical within one year of entry
  • Foreign exchange health insurance
  • Interview via the internet, using Skype and a web camera prior to acceptance.

* Requirements may change.

Please submit our Inquiry Form to begin your process.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Host Family Information

What it Means to be a Host Family

Our host families provide international students with a window through which to view and understand American life and culture. Students are expected to act as a member of your family, participating in your family’s daily activities, chores, meals and conversations. At the same time, our students share their culture and values with their American families. Students are encouraged to bring pictures of their home country, cook their favorite meals for their host family, and share holiday celebrations and traditions from their home country.

Rockford Lutheran School is seeking host families for its International Student Program. Learn about the stipend program. By opening your heart and home to a student from another country you will share in the delight of cultural exchange and mutual goodwill. If you are interested please contact the International Student Program Coordinator at the JSHS campus main office 815-877-9551.  Open your door to a Rockford Lutheran School international student and bring the world to your doorstep.

Experience Another Culture Without Leaving Home

For many families it is very difficult to arrange and pay for international vacations. By hosting an international student, you can bring a foreign culture directly into your own home and provide your family with a lasting international experience.

Our host families develop strong relationships with our international students that carry on throughout the years. Many families end up taking trips overseas to visit their students and meet their families as others continue to be the “home away from home” for those students that continue their college education in America. Students return to visit during holidays and continue to be a big part of their host families’ lives.

We want our Rockford Lutheran families to take advantage of this opportunity to expose their own children to the world and to show the love of Christ to these kids. Our international students come from all over the world. We have been blessed to host students from: Italy, France, Germany, Spain, China, South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Thailand, and Japan. We are always looking to bring a diverse group of students to our school.

Since 1980, Rockford Lutheran School has partnered in the International Student Program. A successful program relies on a number of strong participants. It has been observed that the visiting students are mature, versatile and have a genuine interest to live and learn in a new country. A host family will find this experience to be mutually beneficial. International students traditionally arrive in August and return to their country in May. Host families can accept one or two international students per school year.


The Host Family Will Provide

  • Nurturing and friendly environment
  • Meals
  • Suitable lodging and study space
  • Transportation
  • Communication of house rules


The Exchange Student Will Provide

  • Personal spending money
  • Own tuition
  • Respect for the house rules
  • Medical Insurance
  • Desire to intermingle with the host family

For more information on becoming an International Student’s Host Family, please submit our Inquiry Form.  We look forward to hearing from you!



Article by Student - Ana Ruiz Serrano

No one said that the beginnings were easy. My experience in the United States began with an accumulation of emotions: nervousness, intrigue, restlessness, enthusiasm and above all, the desire of knowing that culture that caught my attention since I was younger. I went from being with my family and friends, talking in my native language, to being in the house of complete strangers speaking English. It was a very dramatic change in just nine hours of flight which is what it takes from Madrid to Chicago. I was received with the same enthusiasm by my host family, although I admit that, in my opinion, they were just as “intrigued” as I was, in the end, I also came from another culture very different from theirs, the American , and in the same way, very different from my “new adoptive sister” from South Korea, my friend Sejin.

After the appropriate accommodation, in what it was my new home, and in which I did not have much time to adapt, the day after my arrival I was already in high school. Rockford Lutheran High School. A high school with a great cultural diversity and where boys and girls of different nationalities of the world studied, apart from the Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Germans, Brazilians, Koreans, Mexicans, and Spanish, being Jaime and me the only Spanish exchange students. Therefore, the cultural “shock” between my new family, my host sister, my new classmates and I was huge. When you are in Spain, it seems that you know a lot of english, but when you are 10,000 km away from your teachers, your family, etc., it seems that your mind has forgotten everything. It’s a strange feeling, which fortunately happens fast. Not in vain we have been studying it all our lives and we can remember something. My first feelings, the first day of high school, were mostly of fear and nerves. I was not accepted by my new classmates, it generated me an initial anxiety that was soon overcome, little by little I was realizing that the empathy, reaches all corners of the planet, and people treat you better than you thought. It’s funny, I learn to appreciate the little things, the things that happen in a current day that we cannot noticed and that we do not pay attention. A simple smile or a hug from those complete strangers, improved my day and made it easier for me to start. Today I can say openly, that I am proud to say I consider them as my second family. At first it is difficult to adapt to the new schedules. What I took the worst were the meals. I did not get used to it completely. Breakfast is served at 9 in the morning, lunch at 12 and dinner at 6 in the evening. And that schedule for a Spanish is very difficult. Little by little I met more people and made friends in my high school. I joined clubs and started doing sports. I signed up for Cross Country and soccer. We did really good in both sports, but soccer was the one that I loved. I did not only enjoyed playing the sport itself, but I also loved playing it with friends, who I’ll never forget and who I will always remember with great affection.I was lucky to have a fantastic host family, who tried super hard to show me the state of Illinois. They did not only show me their hometown, Rockford, but we also traveled in a motorhome through different cities in the state such as Springfield and Chicago, as well as other states like Michigan and Wisconsin. And my favourite one : the trip to Washington D.C that my host family gave me as a birthday present. I am so glad and thankful that I got to know about their country and its symbols and values. All those sites that sound like you’ve seen in movies.

My experience came to its end and I brought with me memories, school funds, trips with family, plans with my friends, new experiences at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Halloween, and many more things that are lived there in a very special way. It has been a wonderful experience that I recommend to everyone, since you learn many things. Of all those things that I learned, in these last ten months and on the plane back to Spain, one of them is that I am not good at goodbyes.


Ana Ruiz Serrano