Welcoming internationals to your university

ISM Discussion Group Over half (528,182) of all the international students and scholars in the United States are in graduate programs, optional practical training, or are visiting scholars. Overwhelmingly they come from China and India, but South Korea, Germany, and Saudi Arabia are just a few of the other places sending internationals here.

Welcoming internationals to your university is very straightforward. Everyone wants a friend, and that’s just an easy first step. Make sure you understand that crossing cultures is an aspect to be aware of, though. The InterVarsity International Student Ministry (ISM) website has plenty of resources on crossing cultures effectively, like this comparison of Eastern and Western cultures.

If you’re part of an InterVarsity chapter, you can make simple changes to help them feel at home as a part of it, or restructure any retreats you may have to welcome them further.

Sometimes you may run into conflict – that’s okay, we have a video to help walk you through that.

This video contextualizes the 5 Thresholds model for internationals. In using it, you can help introduce Jesus and Christianity to them. Then you can use any of our Bible studies (like one on RomansPeter, or the nature of Jesus) to further explore what the gospel means.

As knowledgeable people, you may also be interested in resources like descriptions and practical application of intercultural sensitizers, backgrounds on different religions, and a recommended reading list.

ISM PrayerAre you an international who just arrived in the US or who is preparing to return home soon? The U Curve is a useful tool to help navigate the culture shock and swings that come from leaving one culture and entering another. There are also devotionals and booklets for returning home.

Editor’s note: Thank-you to Sharon and Brian from InterVarsity’s International Student Ministry! Thanks to their partnership, in the morning I updated Seeking tips for international students and in the afternoon the Emerging Scholars Network has this resource to offer you at the beginning of the new academic year. What a joy to co-labor in the work of God. To God be the glory! ~ Thomas B. Grosh IV

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Sharon Messmore

Sharon works with communications for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She enjoys writing and reading Lord of the Rings essays, which really should tell you all you need to know.

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