Grocery Shopping in America

“I walked to the store and bought bananas, bread, and chicken chest!” my international student friend proudly shared with me. I giggled, and asked her “do you mean chicken breast?”

Being in a foreign place you are learning a new language, as well as how to do basic, everyday life activities, like grocery shopping. One of the things that will surprise you and maybe even paralyze you as you walk into a store, the number of choices that are available. Plan ahead of time. Knowing what you’re looking for or having a grocery checklist before you walk in will help you limit your options. Look up the words in English before you go to make sure you can find it. Some of the items you are looking for might be in the aisle labeled “international food”, like soy sauce. Ask an employee for help if needed.

The majority of grocery stores will have almost everything you need. For country-specific ingredients, you can search online for a specialty store. Most cities will have a place called Walmart where you can get your groceries. They also sell other items such as movies, toiletries, and things you may need for your home or dorm room. This is what Americans call

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What does it truly mean to be KNOWN?

What does it truly mean to be KNOWN? We all want people to notice us, to really understand us. We all want to be KNOWN for who we truly are and still loved. We all want to know others in the same way.

To know and be KNOWN is a relationship. It’s what we all desire, whether it is from friends, parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, or spouses. But something gets in the way. In many of our relationships we are not KNOWN or understood in the way we wish. Most of the time our relationships are not as strong as we’d like. We begin to wonder if it is even possible to be KNOWN.

The Bible says, “Oh God, you have searched me and KNOWN me!” God perfectly knows every little part of us, both the good and the bad. And yet he still perfectly loves us. To be fully KNOWN and fully loved? That is what we all desire.

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Braving a New World

It took fifteen minutes before it hit me: the uncomfortable realization that I was no longer in America.

All throughout college, I’d wanted to study abroad and travel the world. I thought it’d be the adventure of a lifetime. But that first day as an international student in China – as my taxi sped away from the airport and I became increasingly aware I could not read the street signs on the freeway, I was a storm of conflicting emotions.

A part of me wanted to wander the streets and test the broken Chinese I had taught myself from an app I had downloaded two days before. A part of me wanted to lock myself in the nearest McDonald’s because it was the closest thing to home I could find.

For many of you, coming to America may elicit similar feelings. How do we continue to press into learning our new world even as we are wrestling with feelings of nervousness and homesickness? Here are five things to consider:

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What surprised you most when you arrived in the US?

It’s the beginning of September, which means that thousands of brand new international students are arriving to the United States for the first time. Perhaps you are one of these students. If so, we welcome you!

Chances are, before coming to the United States you had some expectations of what it would be like. And while some of those expectations turned into reality, it is probable that not every expectation was met. There are bound to be surprises when we start in a new place, at a new school, with new people, no matter how prepared we think we are!

Today we’re going to hear from some international students who have been studying here in the States for the past year. I asked each student to answer this question: “What surprised you most when you arrived in the US?” Perhaps you can identify with some of these students’ experiences!

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Getting Involved in Campus Activities

Involvement in on campus activities is a great way to meet other students, expand your experience, and learn and grow outside of the classroom. The start of a new school year is exciting, but figuring out where you fit into a huge new campus can be overwhelming and confusing.

When finding activities to be involved with on campus we must know two things: First, what is there to do on campus? And second, how can you discover and join student groups or activities?


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Communication Is More Than Words

Mastering the English language is a must if an international student wants to thrive in the United States. Of course, mastery of English is essential in the classroom, to understand and to be understood. But life is much more than the classroom. As one international student told me, “If you don’t know the language, you can’t have friends.” Friendship is what makes us feel content and connected. Understanding communication opens up doors to friendship that were not there before.

While we put such an emphasis on getting the vocabulary and sentence structure correct, what we say accounts for only about 7% of what we are telling others

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