World Awareness Week is one of the best weeks at JBU. From the flag ceremony and the film showings to the food festival and the missions fair, it is beautiful to see all the cultures represented on campus.
However, after the celebrations end, it is extremely difficult for international students who miss their families and homes as the holidays arrive. Although the World Awareness events are exciting moments of community, eventually the excitement and conversations die down, leaving many students feeling isolated and alone.
The Threefold Advocate encourages its readers to continue this pursuit of beauty and unity beyond one week in November. God has given us an incredibly diverse world that cannot be contained in one university, much less a single event.
Different ways to broaden your cultural horizon include learning a new language, trying different foods and recipes, and listening to various kinds of music. Even before beginning to understand other cultures, explore where your family is from. Create new traditions to celebrate the stories and legacies that you find.
While we suggest doing research on your own before asking questions, the Advocate encourages students to continue conversations about your friends and classmates’ cultures. Talk about family traditions, listen to favorite songs or watch favorite movies together, and create a safe, warm place
for cultural exchange.
While it can be hard to talk about home, having friends that respect and
cherish your culture alongside you is crucial to a healthy college experience. When the holidays do come around, reach out to your friends whose families are far away.
Offer to be a safe space to vent frustration and homesickness. Schedule time in the hectic end of the semester to take a break and cook a favorite food. Create a way to celebrate as a friend group that combines each friends’ culture into a holiday tradition that can last all four years.
Remember that the community of cultures on our campus is beautiful, but it can also be messy. Prepare for misunderstandings, but hold tight to grace. Consider the influence of your worldview, but be eager to broaden it.
Let’s continue to wave our flags and embrace each other with open arms. The joy and pride expressed across campus is a truly wonderful experience. Through celebrating our wonderful unique cultures, we are catching a glimpse of Heaven, where every tribe and tongue will praise God.