International Student Success at Bishop Grimes
Bishop Grimes has and will continue to welcome international students into our school community. International students that begin their education with Bishop Grimes meet the requirements for high school graduation and continue their studies at a college or university in the United States. Our international program is a vital part of our school community. It is our belief that the cultural richness of our population, in concert with the values at the heart of our mission, our rigorous academic programs, our supportive atmosphere, and our vast extracurricular offerings and service learning opportunities contribute immeasurably toward preparing our students to be global citizens in the 21st Century. As a Catholic school, we are called to evangelize. 

Over the years, Bishop Grimes has welcomed hundreds of international students, from several countries including most recently China, Cambodia, Mexico, and Italy. This week's Friday Feature highlights Jiesen Zhang, an exceptional international student set to graduate next week with the Class of 2021. Jiesen shared his experience with us, the difficulties of being away from home during the pandemic, and even shared a message with his classmates. 

Name: Jiesen Zhang
Hometown/Country: Zhengzhou, China
College: University of California, San Diego 
Major: Double Major in Data Science and Cognitive Science with a Minor in Mathematics

How were you introduced to Bishop Grimes and what was the biggest influence in your decision to attend?

I was introduced to Bishop Grimes by a good friend, who graduated three years ago. The biggest influence in my decision to attend is my interest in learning more about Catholicism. 

I understand you have been away from home during the COVID pandemic, describe what that experience has been like? 

During the COVID pandemic, it has been quite stressful both physically and mentally. Physically, I had to keep up with exercises and remote classes. Mentally, I've got a lot of pressure from seeing the increasing numbers of hate crimes towards the Asian community across the world.

Describe your Bishop Grimes experience?

I think my time here at BG has been invaluable. I met friends who shared my interest and formed deep bonds with both the students and the staff here which I never thought would be possible at any school. I even got to form a band of my own.

What will you miss most about Bishop Grimes?

I think what I will miss the most would be the familiar faces around the building, and lunch made by Tina that's full of BG love.

What are you planning to study in College and what are your career aspirations? 

I am planning on double majoring in Data Science and Cognitive science with the focus on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. After college, I would love to continue my research in these fields at university facilities.

What advice would you give to anyone considering Bishop Grimes as an international student?

First of all, I would like to welcome them. I would tell them to not be shy, because everyone here is very nice and embracing of newcomers.

What message would you like to give to your classmates?

You guys (Bishop Grimes) have given me a phenomenal high school experience. I want to quote Steve Jobs in his commercial "Think Differently". No matter if people think you are one of the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, or the round pegs in the square holes, think DIFFERENTLY. Only the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

The international students graduating this year are:

Zijin Wang (ZJ) - China - New York University
Jiesen Zhang - China - University of California San Diego
Zixin Ju (Tony) - China - Gonzaga University
Qiushi Chen (Sam) - China - University of Arizona
Junjie Cai (Harry) - China - University of Miami
Junru Zheng (Jelly) - China - Mount Holyoke College
Ruoyuan Wu (Bree) - China - Santa Monica Community College
Kang Fan - China - Green River College
Reachny San - China - Onondaga Community College

We are so proud of all our international students in the Class of 2021!

For more information on the International and Exchange Program at Bishop Grimes, click here.