Hospitality During a Shutdown


Imagine going to college right now in the midst of Covid. Wearing masks, online classes, social distancing, canceled sports and activities to name just a few changes. Sounds rough to me.

Now imagine you are in America for the first time and English is not your first language. As an international student in your late teens or early twenties you have to navigate all this without the help of friends or family. Sounds even worse.

My wife and I were thinking about this the other day. We met each other in college and have great memories of our time at Kent State University. We wanted to help out with students to give them some of those positive experiences even though things will be much different this year than when we attended.

Enter International Friendship Connection. This ministry partners local churches with international students attending a nearby university. Kent State is our alma mater and we wanted to connect to students there. We signed up with our church and were oriented to what we can provide for these students.

Some things we can offer students are:

  • A friendly American family
  • Help in finding their way around the city
  • Shopping trips
  • Cultural and family events during the school year
  • Informal Christian-based gatherings
  • Recreational events: holiday celebrations, meals, language practice, sight-seeing, and MORE!

With many colleges going all virtual or limiting international travel we may not get to host any students this semester but this is something we are excited about in the future.

As we all struggle to find our new normal, consider ways you can reach out and support others as they also go through this challenging time.

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