When it comes to diversity and understanding different cultures, junior nursing major Sarah Herriott and junior social work major Stacey Davidson know how to adjust in uncommon elements. These two world travelers use their experiences to serve fellow students on campus through the International Student Ministry.
Growing up in a missionary family, Herriott had the opportunity to travel worldwide.
“I have been all over Europe: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Andorra and France, where my parents are currently serving,” she said.
She grew up in Africa and traveled on vacations to North America.
Herriott believes she has “been bitten by the traveling bug” and doesn’t know what she would do without having the ability to travel and experience new and different cultures. At a young age she developed a true love for diversity.
Coming to UMHB, Herriott realized she needed to plug in and help international students make new friends and break out of their shells.
“Last year I started working as a teacher’s assistant in the English lab for the international students in ESL and fell in love with them,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of a ministry that reached out specifically to the international crowd.”
Davidson also has a love for traveling and knows what it is like to be away from home and feel out of place.
“The other countries I’ve been to are very welcoming to Americans,” she said. “Our campus doesn’t welcome our international students as warmly as we should.”
Herriott and Davidson would like to see the organization grow among other students, so they too will reach out, spread the word and develop friendships with the students who come from all over the world.
Herriott believes American students attend the meetings because they take an interest in internationals and want to assist them in getting involved.
“We have about five American students who are really committed, and there are close to 10 other American students who have also shown a lot of interest,” she said. Roughly 10 international students participate in weekend ISM activities.
Twenty-four-year-old Sharon Kim moved from Korea to live in San Antonio, Texas, for eight months before she transferred to begin the graduate counseling program as a first year Crusader. Kim attended ISM’s Texas Party at the beginning of the semester.
“We had Texas food like chili, and we met a lot of American students,” she said. Kim enjoys the campus and Belton, especially the lake, and said, “the scenery is more beautiful than San Antonio.”
“Our organization isn’t really a memberbased ministry or group,” Herriott said. “It’s more like random people just wanting to be intentional in relationships with people from other cultures.”
The International Student Ministry meets every Sunday at 8 p.m. in the BSM located near the Meyer Christian Studies building to discuss upcoming events, fellowship and to pray for internationals. Their Facebook group, The International Student Ministry, is available for those connected on the UMHB network to join and find out more information regarding the ministry.