International students


Improving international students’ ability to converse and communicate

As we welcome students from around the world, St. John’s Northwestern recognizes the importance of providing support in speaking, reading, and writing English. We believe that language should not be a barrier to any international student who is seeking academic excellence and the skills to compete with other students for places at highly competitive universities. With this goal in mind, our English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction and academic support program follows your child’s growth through the Academies. Our holistic approach to improving a student’s appreciation and understanding of the English language begins the minute your child steps onto our campus. Since its inception, our highly successful ESL program has produced high-performing scholars.

Start with an assessment when you arrive

An online, highly recognized assessment tool in listening, speaking, reading, and writing English helps us place your child at the most suitable academic level. We monitor each student’s progress with three follow-up assessments each year, and base informed instruction on the results.

Take ESL classes during the academic year

Many skills are required to become successful in English academically. Skills such as reading textbook content with understanding, writing in a clear, grammatically correct, well-organized manner, and applying high-level critical thinking skills during class discussions. These skills are taught in classes such as ESL Intermediate Literacy, ESL Reading, ESL Writing, ESL Communication, and ESL Lab for academic content support. We carefully tailor our ESL classes to fit the unique English proficiency level of your child.

Our approach

International students with advanced English proficiency have the potential to be placed in traditional English classes. Students with beginning and intermediate English skills are placed in ESL classes led by certified ESL teachers. Our small class sizes allow individual attention, resulting in better academic outcomes. Students who progress in language acquisition may transfer to traditional English classes. Our ESL students are immersed with their non-ESL peers in mathematics, science, social studies, art, athletics, and leadership classes. By studying and living with our domestic non-ESL students on a full-time basis, our students’ proficiency in the language is greatly accelerated.

Our ESL teachers work closely together to ensure students understand the content they are being taught in all of their classes regardless of their language proficiency. Extra remedial tutorials are available daily for students looking to improve their learning.

Our invaluable homestay program

From the moment your child is enrolled at St. John’s Northwestern Academies, your family becomes a part of our devoted community. The SJNA community is loving, close-knit, warm, and inviting.

Our Homestay Program is a product of our caring community. Over holiday and vacation times, some of our international students and cadets are unable to return to their home countries. Instead, for a small stipend, they are welcomed with open arms into the homes of SJNA parents, teachers, and alumni who affectionately care for them during these times. During their homestay visits, students and cadets are a part of family activities and traditions, making this an invaluable part of their immersion, not only culturally, but especially in their mastery of the English language.

Enjoy a two-week newcomer course

We believe that total language immersion is the first step to excelling in another language. Our two-week ESL Summer Enrichment Camp is the start of that immersion process. New international students get to know each other and the campus while taking ESL classes during the day. After class, they join in sports and enjoy local excursions and field trips to popular Milwaukee-area destinations where they are further exposed to the language within a social setting.

Click HERE for more information on our ESL Enrichment Camp.

*The cut-off date to register for ESL 2022 is July 31!

Contact our Admissions Team with any questions:

Call us at 262-646-7199 or 1-800-752-2338

Email us at