International Student Housing
Geoff Chen and his family (wife and parents) partner with Geneva to provide international students an option for housing while attending The Geneva School. They live in a big house on 2.5 acres, with room to house 8 students.
Geoff has a college consulting background in China (lived in China for 3+ years). He graduated from Emory University, and speaks English and Chinese. His wife Jiyu speaks English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
- 1–2 students per room
- Extracurricular Guidance: Identify and develop interests, personalized after-school schedule, easy transportation to private tutors and coaches
- Weekend Activities (decided by students): Transportation and supervision provided, monthly weekend homestay options with American families
- 24/7 Parent–Host Communication: Via WeChat and in Chinese
- Trimester Reports (including pictures): Detailed reports are broken down into academics, extracurricular activities, and standardized testing
Read Introductory Letter from Geoff Chen (International Student Life Associate)
Growing up as the son of Chinese immigrants in Orlando, FL, I am aware of the fears, challenges, and pressures that international students face here in America. Since a young age, my cousins and I were constantly the clear minority at our schools, and we quickly became aware of our differences. Home life emphasized discipline, repetition, and academic perfection. Our weekdays were filled with supplemental math and English tutoring, complete with nightly homework assignments. Our weekends were spent at Chinese school. Naturally, we found it difficult to relate to our American peers.
Thankfully, as our parents assimilated, our weekly schedules changed. While our academic standards never diminished, we also began to pursue and excel at our extracurricular interests, creating more opportunities to make friends. I became captain of our tennis team and president of several clubs. My cousins became some of the best violinists and pianists in the nation. We made life-long friends and gave back to our school community by teaching our skills to others. Our parents were able to preserve the values instilled from their home country: discipline, hard work, and ambition. However, they still allowed us the opportunity to learn from the best qualities of American education: creativity, independent thinking, and teamwork. More importantly, in the process we discovered that all of these good values were biblical, and discovered fulfillment through Jesus Christ.
As a result of our environment and development, my cousins and I were admitted to some of the nation’s top universities: Cornell University, New York University, Columbia University, and two admittances to Emory University. Our education allowed us to pursue our dreams. Consequently, after graduation, I was able to fulfill my passion for mentoring youth and also reconnect with my heritage by working at one of China’s foremost college consulting companies, AIC Education (over 70% of their students are accepted into top 20 Universities).
I learned much from the experience and was able to continue my passion for mentoring Chinese students by working for a recruiting and homestay agency in Orlando, FL. During my time there my role was to place students in their perfect-fit high school. However, I was devastated as I saw that homestay and boarding programs throughout America did not provide the same opportunities and environment that I was given.
My students had difficulties getting transportation to extracurricular activities, private coaches, and the tutoring which they were accustomed to. Their requests were dismissed as unnecessary, because most American kids do not need private tutoring. Their caretakers were unqualified and changed on a yearly basis, so they lacked guidance, support, and motivation. They found it difficult to relate to those at home, so it became easier and more comfortable for everybody to remain isolated in their rooms. These students were deprived of the best parts of American education, and sadly, even the good qualities instilled from their home country were diminished because their caretakers emphasized convenience over development.
Consequently, we have partnered with The Geneva School to provide international students a solution to the shortcomings of traditional homestay and boarding programs. Our goal is to give international students the same opportunities, freedom, support, and guidance that my family provided my cousins and me—allowing them a true opportunity to benefit from the American education system, while preserving the ambition, discipline, and standards they learned at a young age from home.
I am grateful to be able to pursue my dream and passion by mentoring your children, and look forward to helping them reach their own dreams. I can guarantee the quality and standards of our housing program, because we live with the kids, work with them on a daily basis, and are available to talk directly with their parents 24/7. I promise to use my unique experience, perspective, and education to give your child the best opportunity during the college admissions process and to accomplish their goals and dreams.