This summer, some Chi Alpha campus pastors from another campus contacted me because an international student they had met wanted to stay in Phoenix for the summer. I had the pleasure of meeting a great new friend, N.
Part of the awesome thing of being on a college campus is that there are tons of nations represented. Deuteronomy 10:19 says “So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
She’s going to give us her top 10 tips for being friends with International Students! Here goes:
**Some names and identifying details have been changed to keep things private. 🙂
First of all here’s a little bit about her:
N. is a Sri Lankan girl who loves & misses her culture. She is an international student hasn’t been home in 2 years! She is a practicing Theravada Buddhist. N. cooks AMAZING curries and delicious fried bananas. Despite her sweetness, N. is also skilled at cards. Watch out when we’re playing spoons!
Here are her Top 10!
10. Share with me any culture you have experienced even if it’s not the same culture as me. It would make me feel like you had an interest in my culture as well. I will feel more comfortable sharing with you about my culture.
9. Ask international students about their culture. We miss home and we’re proud of where we’re from. Maybe we would even invite you home for a visit!
8. It makes us really happy if you invite us into your home! We miss the family feeling, and I would love to meet your family. I would like to feel the comfort of being in a home. It’s a feeling that we are missing for a long time.
7. The very best friends I’ve made have invited me to join in what they were doing, like a game night, and they offered to give me a ride.They have made the impression that they like me, that they want me, and they want me to be around their friends. This friend took me offroading 2 years ago, and I am still talking about it. It made me feel special because it was something I hadn’t experienced. They never thought that taking me would not be fun but they knew they would have fun at the same time.
6. Maintain friendships over school breaks as well. We really do feel like we are friends during the school time because we do homework and projects together. When the semester is over, we feel like we have no friends because they all have gone home. I really enjoyed an American Thanksgiving! A friend of mine was hosting his first Thanksgiving away from home. It made me feel so special that he would want to invite me even though we’d only had one class together. He wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, he was just looking to be my friend.
5. When a group is having conversations, discuss topics that I would be aware of and have knowledge of. If it was some kind of topic that I have no clue about, I would feel scared to get into the conversation because they might feel I’m a fool about the topic. Rather than talking about Lindsay Lohan or Lady Gaga, share with me an adventure you have had or ask me about my adventures. I have a story to tell.
4. I would be happy if you asked to try some of my food and I would like if you offered to make me your food aswell.
3.Right now you might think that there is no benifit to having an international student friend. With this economy, you don’t know if you will be in the that contry for your job or vacation in 5 or 10 or 20 years. I would love to have friends from every country because when I visited I would know someone there. You would get to experience the real culture of my country not just the tourist side. Imagine if you get to go to a country in 20 years, how thrilled you would be to have a friend there rather than being scared for the culture shock you would experience.
2. When I first got here, I didn’t like people calling me “Hey” or “Dude.” When people say, “Dude that was so fun.” I’m like, “I’m not a dude, I’m a girl.” I would prefer to be called by my name.
1. Overall, we are just like your American friends. Internation students are nice and friendly to be with. Don’t give up if it takes longer to be our friends.
You guys are the people who can make me comfortable in your society, in your territory because I am a stranger. In college, you might never get to go to Sri Lanka, but you will have met me. You guys believe in God, maybe you believe that God made our paths cross.
Thank you SO much to N for giving us all of this useful information about international students and adding some flavor to my blog! I’m excited to have a new friend and to visit her in her country one day!
PS: Something I’ve always remembered was something an international student said to me. It was something to the effect of “You go on all of these trips to Kenya, but you ignore the Kenyans that are on the campus. Do you really care about the country and the people or just the trip?” Challenging, huh?