A growing community of expatriates in Hsinchu has led to the expansion of the Hsinchu International School (HIS), Grant Ruskovich, the principal of the school's secondary department, said on Thursday.
The HIS was established 25 years ago when expatriates working for Philips, a company based in the Netherlands, asked Rowena Lines to come to Taiwan to start a school for their children. But in 1989, when the company started to move part of their operations to China and established their offices in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (HSIP), the school moved to a site contributed by a church. The school now plans to move to a third site that will provide more space, where two new buildings are currently under construction. The HIS currently hosts students from Taiwan, the US, Mexico, Korea and Japan.
"More and more international families are coming to Hsinchu and there is a desperate need for an international school. One of the principal reasons we decided to establish grades 10 through 12 of the secondary department is because we don't want children to be forced to leave their families at such a young age," Ruskovich said.
According to Ruskovich, HIS students at the age of 14 previously had to live separately from their families if they wanted to continue studying at an international school.
He said the school will not advertise the new classes but will simply allow grade nine students go on to grades 10 through 12 from September this year.
When asked about the problems the school encounters, Ruskovich said that the most difficult issue is finding a balance between the needs of the local community and the needs of the students.
Only students with foreign passports are allowed to attend the HIS, but the school also has many students who were born in the US to Taiwanese parents.
"The ratio of students whose parents are Taiwanese is pretty high, they are in the majority here. Then we have Koreans, Japanese, Americans and Mexicans," Ruskovich said.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the two new buildings was held on Dec. 16 last year and they are scheduled to become operational in September. According to a spokeswoman, the new buildings will be of four to five floors.