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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Students overcome international barriers

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Special to Opinions

Alana Duffle

At the Outreach meeting this week I started to understand how Oklahoma Christian University is a multi-cultural school. I often forget that Oklahoma Christian is comprised of students from many nations around the world. It hit me during the meeting that acknowledging the students was not enough, and that it is important to make the international students feel at home.

During Outreach we learned about our students from Rwanda.  I truly admire the Rwandan students for their ability to leave home to be here. Our cultures are so different, and I imagine that the adjustment is very difficult. I cannot picture myself being far away from my home, friends and family.  After the meeting I told myself that I would make an effort to sit with them, or carry on a conversation with them, as I had intended since the first week of school.

I had the opportunity this week to eat with students from Rwanda.  It was wonderful to hear about their culture and what it is like to experience the American culture. I knew that life in Africa would be different, but it became reality as I talked to them. Despite the different foods, religions, education systems, and lifestyles, we found common interests. I loved spending time with them, and learned the importance of hearing about other cultures.

We have a strong campus community. We all come from different places, whether it is the state of Montana or the country of China. It is important for us to learn about other cultures so that we can grow and gain a broader perspective. It is easy for us to believe that the culture we were raised in is ‘the’ way of life. As I learned, it does not matter where you are from; people are just people looking for their place in the community. We should all make an effort to get past ‘hi, how are you,’ to actually learn about other people. The more that we learn about the people around us, the more we will be able to love and serve them.

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