Classes have been in full swing over the last few months. With that, outreach to the international students on campus has been moving into full gear and exciting things have been happening on campus. The International Studies Department on the UNO campus hosts a conversation and cultural hour every Thursday afternoon. I have been able to attend the event and meet numerous international friends. We have done everything from playing board games, to learning different dances, to just having good conversations about our cultures together. This has been a great place to meet students and begin forming relationships with them.
One of the most exciting events that has been happening with our international students is the American Family Dinner. In October, I reached out to families in our church community to host a dinner for international students in November. Many families responded, and with this show of support I reached out to the international student community on campus.
Twenty-three students from fifteen different countries across Europe and Asia joined seven of our Candlewood families for a dinner in their home. Each family hosted three or four students on a night that worked for both themselves and the students.
The students who took the opportunity to come were excited and grateful to have a chance to meet an American family and see something other than the dorm life on campus. Relationships were formed and everyone had a great time getting to know more about each others’ culture. A few of the students have also taken the opportunity to join their host family on Sunday morning at Candlewood.
Also, in Lincoln, the ISM there hosted a Thanksgiving lunch at the Wiebelhaus home. Traditional Thanksgiving dishes like Turkey and stuffing were brought along with Asian dishes like dumplings and coca-cola chicken wings. It was a great cross-cultural experience and a way to share about our Father in heaven as the source of our every blessing.
It has been awesome to see the church family reach out to these international students to create such a unique experience for these students before they return to their home countries.
A big thank you to the families who have hosted students, the Rock students who provided transportation, and the international students who participated in the Thanksgiving event. We will definitely be doing it again in the future!