Hockaday eighth-grader Lily Fu, left, and junior Pilar Lopez Sanchez are part of an international student body that make up roughly 6 percent of the student population. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Hockaday eighth-grader Lily Fu, left, and junior Pilar Lopez Sanchez are part of an international student body that make up roughly 6 percent of the student population. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

The Hockaday School students have been exposed to a myriad of cultures since its inception a century ago.

Founder Ela Hockaday prioritized cultural awareness so much that in 1928, she encouraged a handful of students and teachers to explore Europe for seven months.

Now students can study in Buenos Aires, Argentina or Australia’s Gold Coast their sophomore year to satisfy their wanderlust. Teens from across the globe move to Preston Hollow for an elite education, too.

Leaving family, friends and familiarity behind is daunting at only 13 or 14 years old. Boarder Buddies Programs, offered to boarding students, helps ease that transition.

The teens are matched with parents or staff members who can help soothe homesickness or navigate cultural barriers. They go out to dinner, watch movies and even spend holidays together.

“It recreates the home they’re missing,” says Meshea Matthews, director of residential life and global outreach. “Many times the families become friends, even though they’re so far away.”

What’s most important to Matthews is that international students find their niche without changing their identity. In the five years that she’s worked for the program, it’s something that worries students and parents alike.

“One of their greatest fears is, ‘Will she lose her culture?’ ” she says.

Students find creative ways to maintain touchstones to their heritage. In the past, they formed a Korean pop dance troupe that performed at the school, while another group of teens held Bollywood dance classes.

“It lets us thoughtfully engage with the perspective they bring,” says Gary Stollar, international program coordinator. “They help us look at things through their eyes.”

The Hockaday School
Enrollment: 1,089
Year established: 1913
Tuition: $25,000-$57,155

Where International students come from:
China
South Korea
Vietnam
Taiwan
Spain
Germany
Bulgaria
Nigeria
South Africa
Canada
Puerto Rico


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.