Dear International Students-
A few of you have admitted to me in the past few weeks that you’re feeling homesick, a little sad, worried about your grades and missing your families. I hope to encourage you today.
I’m impressed by you. You’ve come to a country that’s half-a-world away to a culture that is completely different from your own. There’s a new language, new food, new expressions, new body language, Many of you are living on your own for the first time ever. You‘re getting an advanced degree in a second language. You have to get used to our grading systems, our educational expectations, and professor’s accents. You sit in class and then go home and spend 3 hours studying your notes and translating things you didn’t understand. You have to battle thousands of other international students for internships and jobs that will sponsor you. You have alot on your plate. (You have many stressful things in your life here).
So, first let me say this- it’s completely normal for you to feel homesick and overwhelmed Read that list again above and pat yourself on the back. You guys are doing something adventurous and difficult. It’s okay if you don’t always think it is “fun” and you’re going to have good days and bad days, just like you would at home.
In the Bible (the Christian religious book), Jesus says, “Come to me all of you who are weak and weary and I will give you rest.” Christians believe that God loves people and He wants to give them comfort and peace. That doesn’t mean that God will make our lives perfect, but He promises that He will always be with us. He tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” So, I want to let you know that I believe that God is with you- even when you feel alone here or stressed.
If you aren’t sure that you believe that, it’s okay because here’s the second piece of good news. Alex and I love you guys. I know I joke about being your American mom but you need to know that I am serious. If you need to come over and cry on my shoulder, I’ll be here. If you want to come sit on our couch and speak Mandarin/Korean/Japanese/Hindi to me, I will pretend like I’m understanding and I can respond with, “Ni hao/Kimchi Mandu/Arigato/Namaste”. If you need someone to boss you around so you can roll your eyes, I will tell you that you need to study harder or that you should not wear flip-flops to school because you will not find a husband. We love you guys and we are praying for you often, asking God to comfort you and help you in your studies.
One of our favorite Bible verses right now is Psalm 68:6, which says “God sets the lonely in families”. We like it because it encourages us in our adoption, but it also refers to you guys. You are under alot of pressure here and if you feel lonely, I want you to know that you have a place in our family.
So, here’s the summary:
1. Lots of students feel how you are feeling now.
2. God is with you and He loves you.
3. We are with you and we love you too.
All my love,
PS- Here are some other encouraging verses
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (The Holy Spirit is what Christians call God’s presence here on Earth)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:6-7