Building friendships

If you live on or near a college campus or in an urban area where international students live, consider this quote from an Indonesian student who came to study at USC:

"Before coming to the United States, I loved the music, films, freedoms, and I thought, the people. Now I'm not so sure. It's hard to make friends here. Everyone is so busy, into their appearance, and clueless about the rest of the world. I long for friendships where people can talk intelligently about world issues, travel, art, and life outside of our little worlds on campus. To be honest," she says, "I feel lonely a lot of the time. I don't get to see much of American life other than on TV or the area surrounding my university."

Certainly, this isn't true across the board, but over 500,000 international students are studying at American universities right now and over 70% of them never enter an American home! So, in other words, on average, we pretty much suck at inviting in "strangers" and those from other cultures. :) Let's change that! International students (speaking as one who was once an int'l student in another country) really want to get a "window into America" and we have an opportunity to give them a really positive experience to take home to their friends and family. As Christians, we can really reflect Christ by simply giving someone a ride to the grocery store, inviting them over for dinner or helping them learn English. If we aren't to show them respect and love because of the universiality of the Gospel, then who?

As an international friend told me recently, after I asked him if he had any American friends after being here for eight months, "No, everyone is really busy." Ouch...

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