SEVEN OR EIGHT international students congregated in the place where people usually congregate at our house: the kitchen.
We talked about the many countries we had visited, and some of our favorite culinary experiences—everything from street food in Kuala Lumpur to the variety of noodles across China. Someone asked what languages people spoke, and we quickly identified our collective fluency in at least a dozen different languages.
These languages represent a wealth of cultural experience—one of the unique strengths that international students bring to Wheaton College. Languages also present a spiritual opportunity, because they open doors to friendships that can lead people to Christ.
God is opening kingdom doors as we continue to make progress in globalizing a Wheaton education. This is evident in the growing number of international students on campus. Visit the Dining Commons and you will see the flags of nearly 100 nations, each standing for one of the many countries of origin represented in our student body.
FROM THE HEART, FOR THE KINGDOM
An increasing number of students are coming from China. In fact, a large group of Chinese students and their friends meets every Friday night to share Chinese food and pray for God’s work in China. Students are also coming to Wheaton from Kenya, Estonia, Brazil, and Northern Ireland.
Progress is evident as well in formal agreements with Christ-centered universities in other countries, including Handong Global University in South Korea and Tokyo Christian University. Both are our partners for regular student exchange.
Our future plans include securing housing for international visiting scholars, providing additional scholarship aid for international students, placing a Wheaton College representative in East Asia full-time, and developing new partnerships with Christ-centered schools in other countries and on other continents.
By God’s grace, the impact of these global connections will last for generations. One student from Japan told me how inspired she was to meet Dr. Akiko Oshiro Minato M.A. ’60, who in 2008 was honored as Wheaton’s Alumna of the Year for Distinguished Service to Society. During her long and distinguished career in higher education—which has included two college presidencies—Dr. Minato has been a tireless advocate for the liberal arts from a Christian perspective. As our Japanese student read Dr. Minato’s writings in her native tongue, she was inspired to consider finding her own calling in education.
Perhaps one day she too will inspire another young student to find her kingdom calling—maybe in Japan, or somewhere else in God’s world.