Simple acts of kindness impact lives

So picture this … you are studying abroad and will be learning a new language. More than that, you are already in your upper 40s, and learning a language is not so easy anymore. You come to a university full of people whose culture and language are completely foreign. You try to engage them, but a few embarrassing attempts leave you discouraged and disillusioned with the whole idea of immersion.

Nevertheless, you keep trying to find someone to help you figure everything out. You are seriously in need of a patient, kind friend to guide you through what seems like a whole new world full of strange challenges, but you don’t find that friend. Now what?

This is the story of Sung Hyang, one of the students in Eastern’s Korean Nursing Program. When we met Sung, or Sunny as we call her, she could only speak broken English and was very discouraged. She kept telling us about how bad her English was and how much help she needed.

We began to meet with Sunny once a week for an hour just to chat about everything and nothing in particular. You’d think it would be more complicated than that, but it wasn’t. With that one hour, her confidence improved dramatically. She began to tell us stories about the new friends she had made and the progress she was making in class. Sunny even began to make us food on a weekly basis to thank us for our help.

As we got to know her more, we began to meet with her twice a week just because we loved spending time with her and learning about Korean culture. As cliché as it may sound, we ended up doing the learning.

The more we spoke with Sunny, the more stories we heard about international students who needed a friend, who needed one hour a week. So we decided to start a club called I.C.E., International Cultural Experience, to help international students adjust to campus. We want every international student to make the progress that Sunny has made, and we want every Eastern student to broaden their perspective through learning about other cultures.

We fully support all of Eastern’s ministries that go off-campus, but we have a need right here in our midst. What’s more is that it’s a need that is very easy to fill. You can change lives globally here on campus.

There are some wonderful people who need your time, your voice and your ears.

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