Bishop Ward High School

Meet Our International Students!

Bishop Ward is excited to host four international students this year! They are each having their own unique Cyclone adventure here in the USA so please take a moment to meet Ana Candela, a junior from Spain; Alvaro Luis, another junior from Spain; Maria Pilato, a senior from Italy, and Yifei “Joe” Sun, a senior from China.


How did you end up in Kansas City and at Bishop Ward High School?

Ana: I started the process a year ago. It was really hard to become an exchange student, there were a lot of students who were very excited about the idea of coming to the USA so it was very competitive.  Over 7,000 students applied for the scholarship to come here and I was 1 out of 200 to receive the scholarship.

Alvaro: I was able to come here through the same program as Ana. Amancio Ortega (the richest man in Spain) gives a couple hundred scholarships to Spanish sophomores so they can spend their junior year in the USA or Canada. They have a lengthy process for choosing students that consists of our grades and family income.

Maria: I came here with friends of my parents. My mom had a friend who worked at Bishop Ward and my older brother also studied here for a year.

Joe: I was a student at New Hung Qiao High School International Academy and was given an opportunity to study in the USA. I started out at Sacred Heart High School but when my host family moved I transferred to Bishop Ward so I could live with my Aunt and continue living in the USA.

What is the biggest difference between the USA and your home country?

Ana: Everything here is HUGE! Food, celebrations, houses, roads, when Americans make something it has to be big!

Alvaro: Probably food and the use of the car. In Spain we’re used to eating more natural food and then we use our cars maybe twice a week at the most. This influences my freedom here as I am not able to go out on my own as much as I was able to back home.

Maria: At school Americans play a lot of sports. We do not have as many extracurricular activities in Italy.

Joe: The biggest difference from China is the living atmosphere and the way of study.

What is your favorite thing about Bishop Ward?

Ana: I really like Bishop Ward! The people are really nice, they are very generous and all the people know each other. They are a big family. I like how it is small and you can get all the attention that you need. I also like that all the teachers love their jobs and try to help you understand everything. They are very dedicated and care about their students.

Alvaro: The people! I’ve met so many great people and they have been so nice and friendly to us.

Maria: School spirit, all of the students participate at school activities and cheer for the sports.

Joe: Teachers. They all act respectfully and patiently with the students.

What is your favorite thing about the USA?

Ana: Definitely my host family! They are very generous and take care of me like my real family. I also like the sporting events, like I said earlier everything here is so huge compared to Spain!

Alvaro: The convenience of everything, like drive-thru’s, and how easy it is to get things.

Maria: Bishop Ward, and I love pancakes!

Joe: I like how there are plenty of things to do here.

What do you miss most about home?

Ana: My family, friends, hobbies, and of course the beach and warm weather!

Alvaro: My family and friends, but having social media and technology helps.

Maria: The food! I miss our pizza and pasta the most.

Joe: I miss my family and friends the most.

Now for a couple fun questions! What is your favorite American Band?

Ana: Probably Taylor Swift!

Alvaro: Maroon 5

Maria: The band “Dresses” look them up.

Joe: Fall Out Boy

Favorite American food?

Ana: Pink Lemonade, I didn’t even know that I could choose the color of my drink, I love it!

Alvaro: Chicken Pot Pie.

Maria: Pancakes! And I also like skittles.

Joe: Burgers.


When this year is over Ana and Alvaro plan to go back to Spain and finish out high school at home. Maria still has one more year of high school as well as they have five years instead of four in Italy. Joe will graduate this year and hopes to attend college somewhere in the USA.

Bishop Ward is always looking for new host families. This is a great opportunity for families to learn about other cultures and give back to the community. Bishop Ward strongly believes that the growth of its international program will strengthen and impact the school and community.

If you are interested in learning more about the program please contact the school at 913.371.1201.