Sacred Heart education dates back to 1800, when St. Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in France. Now, Sacred Heart education can be found in 41 countries on six continents. This global spirit is evident in the daily life at Woodlands Academy.
As a boarding school, Woodlands welcomes students from all over the world to live, study, play and pursue their interests in a wide variety of sports, musical groups, and clubs. The International Student Program
provides students with academic and social support throughout their stay at Woodlands Academy. New international students are welcomed into the community at International Student Orientation, prior to the start of the school year, and the boarding school staff and International Student Advisor help them adjust to their new environment. After-school activities ensure that students are active and engaged, and the boarding school provides weekend trips and cultural excursions. All international students have opportunities to share their culture with the entire school community.
Marking the official opening of the academic year, Woodlands celebrates its internationality at the Mass of the Holy Spirit and Flag Ceremony. The ceremony begins with a procession into the Woodlands Chapel of students, faculty and staff displaying the flags of their homelands. The flags remain on display in the Chapel throughout the school year to honor the school’s cultural diversity.
Every other year, the school hosts Cultural Odyssey, where the community gathers to enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the school. For lunch, Taste of Woodlands provides a smorgasbord of delicious ethnic cuisine prepared by students, faculty and staff. In the afternoon, regular classes are cancelled and students sign up for a variety of classes highlighting Woodlands’ cultural diversity.
A Diversity Calendar displayed in a main hallway at the school highlights national holidays around the world and is updated monthly.
The school celebrates International Education Week every October, which is a joint venture between the U.S. Departments of State and Education. Students are invited to take a global challenge quiz and participate in the International Film Festival.
The cornerstone of Woodlands Academy’s Global Education program is its Exchange Program
, which allows students to visit other Sacred Heart schools on five continents for an experience unlike another other high school travel program. Woodlands regularly welcomes exchange students throughout the school year from many international and domestic Sacred Heart schools for two to six weeks. More than 40% of Woodlands students are involved in the Exchange Program, either as exchange students, host sisters, or day hosts. For an updated list of locations the school exchanges with, see the Exchange Program link above.
The school sponsors an Exchange Photo Competition every year to highlight the adventures of its students who travel all over the world through the exchange program.