Every year in the United States come to study thousands of students from around the world. They are hard to get, because you have to learn a new language, new culture and new teaching methods. But when a local provide a warm welcome, and strangers become friends, the difficulty to deal easier.
Over thousands of students from different corners of the earth came this fall at old dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Across the United States there are students from China, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries. More than a million people take part in international programs this year. 17 years ago, Dr. Kurnia Fo was one of those students. He and his family came from Indonesia. Now he as the founder of the organization “global student friendship”, he welcomes students from other countries.
“We come from different countries students and teachers with their families. They come here for the education, future and career,” says Kurnia Fo.
Service “global student friendship”, supported in the campus of the local Church. Today FD has invited more than a hundred new students for a welcome lunch.
“They just arrived a few days ago, but we received them with joy, gave them a glass of water and a plate of delicious food. Is that addressed to their heart that tells them: “These people care about me,” he explains.
Friendship, which the plant here, leads to family meetings and dinners at home, Americans have during the school year. This is what most foreign students had never experienced.
“88% of foreign students have never been at home among Americans. And immigrants the situation is even worse. They can live here for 20 years, and they may not be fellow Americans,” shares Cathy Hardison — Director of the “global student friendship”.
Anticipating the needs of these students, the team of “Global friendship” is also handing out bags with things for the house, gives free trips to grocery stores and even furniture for empty flats.
“When we arrived in Norfolk, our apartment was nothing, but this organization provided us with a lot of furniture: a Desk and a dining table, sofa,” says Vimarsha, a student from Sri Lanka.
Next semester, the Ministry will open Globus — guest complex for 60 foreign students in the University campus. This is one of the possibilities to become a friend for a student from another country.
“Imagine that you can find someone from any country that interests you, knowing that God’s purpose brought him here. We Americans have a wonderful opportunity to help the world. Just reach down and take some time, some money, some food. You can do what missionaries abroad can take many years. And it’s so easy”, says Cathy Hardison.
See also another story about the fruits of the “Global Christian friendship”. This is a story about how Christians are effectively reaching out to students by simply helping them to adapt in the United States.