The International Student Experience


“From the first day I came here I considered Riverstone my home.”

The international student experience at Riverstone International School is very different from what most international students consider the “typical American high school experience.”

What makes Riverstone special for international students

  • An internationally recognized academic program
  • Discussion-oriented classes
  • A small school culture where teachers support, encourage, and know students well
  • An international student coordinator
  • Personalized college counseling
  • Outdoor education
  • A northwestern U.S. town that is safe and welcoming
  • New facilities for residential students
  • Host families for J1 exchange students

An internationally-recognized curriculum: the International Baccalaureate Programme

Riverstone International School is authorized to offer the prestigious International Baccalaureate programmes. Students in grades 9–10 enroll in the Middle Years Programme. To complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, they must attend Riverstone for both grade 11 and 12. Only students with previous IB experience may apply for grade 12.

The Diploma Programme is considered excellent preparation for college. Read more about the Diploma Programme here.

The big benefits of a small school culture and discussion-oriented classes

We are a small school with students from preschool through high school. Our high school classes typically have fewer than 15 students. As a result, our students can participate in discussions and activities that only small classes and excellent teachers make possible. We seek out — and respect — students’ opinions and perspectives that help create a meaningful learning environment.

Making lifelong friends at Riverstone only takes a short while if you are open to meeting new people. Many of our international students return to Boise to visit friends and teachers after their time here is over — and many of our local students visit their international classmates when they travel abroad.

About 15 percent of our high school population is comprised of international students. Our entire school community includes representation from 48 countries. And many of our staff members have lived or traveled abroad.

Being part of a family

International students studying on a F1 student visa will live in our residential community in downtown Boise. Our residential life advisors will assist students with transitioning to a new school, new friends, and a new city.

International students studying on a J1 student visa live with host families. These families open their homes and welcome our international students as their own children. Both students and families benefit from these interpersonal connections.

Our International Student Coordinator supports you

Riverstone provides our international students with strong support through intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction and an international student orientation upon arrival. Most importantly, our International Student Coordinator ensures that all students are placed with suitable host families, assists students as they integrate into the Riverstone community, and makes certain our international students have a rewarding experience.

College counseling to guide you

Many international students attend high school in the U.S. with the hopes of continuing their college education in the U.S. as well. Our students, both local and international, receive a great deal of attention and advice from our college counselor. One hundred percent of Riverstone graduates are accepted into colleges worldwide. Read more about our college counseling program here.

Outdoor education

Exploring the mountains and canyons of Idaho are part of every student’s education at Riverstone. For many international students, carrying a backpack or sleeping in a tent are new experiences. Our Director of Outdoor Education and experienced students are always happy to answer questions, encourage classmates, loan equipment, or simply lend a hand. Read more about our outdoor education program here.

A safe place to live and study: Boise, Idaho       

Boise is considered one of the best-kept secrets of the Pacific Northwest and a very safe place for your student to attend school. Read more about Boise here.

What international students say about Riverstone

“Riverstone is awesome! We have so many activities, outdoor trips, and clubs. Students go out together, discuss together, and have fun together. [All of which] gave me some precious memories. As for academics, since our class size is not big, every teacher cares about every single student and students are so close to teachers that we can talk about daily life — even some trivial things. Another thing that makes Riverstone special is that every student knows each other, not only in the same class but also the entire high school and even middle school or elementary school.” ~R Class of 2016, CHINA

“First of all, I would say that Riverstone is very different from my school in France. Riverstone International and the IB diploma are a unique experience in terms of learning and discovering. Both teachers and students are involved in a positive community and are really concerned about their surroundings. Helping each other and trying to improve the environment for everyone is the main purpose of Riverstone besides learning.” ~H Class of 2017, FRANCE

“I think Riverstone is a great school with amazing academics and possibilities for after-school activities. The school has a casual and friendly environment, which makes it a lot less stressful to be an exchange student. The teachers are always there to help and guide. Riverstone is a lot different from what I am used to. I come from a big high school, where the culture and environment is completely different. The outdoor program is a big part of the school, and I think it is a big part of … helping them grow as people. The Riverstone culture is unique, without doubt.” ~M Class of 2017, NORWAY

“From the first day I came here I considered Riverstone my home. The community was wonderful, everyone was friendly, and the teachers I’ve met here are caring and always nice to everyone. As an international student I’ve felt like all the other American students. At this school students do a lot of activities together, and we all are good friends. It’s simply a special experience.” ~A Class of 2016, ALBANIA

“I think Riverstone is a really cool and special school. It’s small, so students and teachers are close. Classes are small, so teachers know their students very well. Students can ask the teachers questions whenever. I can feel I’m really a part of this school and teachers really care about me. Riverstone not only has excellent academics, it also has plenty of different activities. I’m very happy and comfortable to be at Riverstone.” ~J Class of 2015, CHINA

What international students say about living with host families (J1 student visa)

“Living with a host family is such a cool experience. My host family members are the most generous and kind people I have ever met, and they have really inspired me to want to host when I am older. They opened up their home and let a complete stranger live with them, and I am so lucky to have ended up where I have. They want me to experience as much as possible while I am here, and I really feel like a part of the family. The family I live with is not just my host family, they are my American family.” ~M Class of 2017, NORWAY