By Kayla Lutes, Contributing Writer
Asbury’s worldwide impact makes it a great place for international students to get their start. Along with its welcoming student body and a caring team of individuals ready to help them adjust to life in the United States, the university is proud to be a home across international borders for three percent of its students, representing 18 different countries.
Junior Hossanna Miranda, who is from Bolivia, first knew Asbury as the college her mother attended. Miranda’s parents encouraged her to choose Asbury because of her mom’s experience here. “They felt better about me coming to live in the U.S. knowing that I was at a place that was familiar to them and me,” Miranda said.
Joyce Chu, who graduated with the Illuminated Class of 2014, also chose Asbury for its familiarity. Joyce came to Nicholasville, Ky., in her senior year of high school as a foreign exchange student from Hong Kong. She heard of Asbury from her host family who had graduated from the university. She knew she wanted to attend college in America, and Asbury became her top choice because of its familiarity. “It was just nice to think about going to a college in a town I was familiar with compared to the rest of America,” said Chu.
Asbury’s community made transitioning to Asbury as an international student easier for both Miranda and Chu. “It has definitely been a huge growing experience for me,” Miranda said. “I think that Asbury really helped me through this, because I knew that there were others who were facing the same changes, and so we were able to go through it together.”
During her time here, Chu was thankful for the way Asbury made her feel like part of a family. “A lot of my friends who studied abroad usually only got the education,” she said. “I would say I have met some of my closest friends at college. So that’s very special for me.”
Culture shock can be the biggest hurdle for international students, but Asbury’s intentional community helps to usher international students into the Asbury family. “Meeting other internationals and forming a community based on common experiences goes a long way,” said Director of Intercultural Programs Esther Jadhav. Asbury also advises international students on the logistics involved with moving to another country, such as taxes and immigration. This ensures that international transitions go as smoothly as possible.
Taking precautions to minimize culture shock helps to ease international students into the Asbury community, but sophomore Young Hwan Kim, who is from South Korea and lived 10 years in China, believes that culture shock should be faced head on. “Culture shock should not be something we fear or try to avoid,” Kim said. “It is part of the process by which we learn different cultures.”
Kim points out that culture shock can go both ways, and both parties experiencing culture shock are in the perfect place to learn from the other. “Culture shock can be a more enjoyable experience if all people from different cultures share and shock each other with diversity, instead of having only one party actively sharing and another party passively listening,” Kim said.
International students add to the Asbury family by bringing their piece of the world to our campus. They enrich our campus culture by educating fellow students about their own culture. It gives us the opportunity to expand our own world and see things from a global perspective.
“I think it’s important to humble yourself, and reach out to others and tell them about your culture and your country,” Chu said. “But, also, learn about America because conversations like these help each other grow.”