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Engaging Internationals

People from all over the world come to the U.S. to work and study. Those who relocate from other countries for work often bring along family members who know little English. Internationals eager to learn Western language and culture are open to invitations to socialize with Americans, yet 80% return to their country having never been invited inside an American home. Worse, 90% leave without having heard and been given an opportunity to respond to the gospel.
Believers have unique opportunities to build friendships with internationals and open doors to share the gospel.  
Meet internationals:
  • - Where you live . Get to know your neighbors. Internationals may already live on your street.

  • - Where you work or go to school . Ask international colleagues to join you for lunch. Invite them and their family over for dinner.

  • - Where you play . Visit parks, coffee cafes and other public gathering places and initiate conversations with people of other nationalities.

  • - GO to them . Contact local colleges and offer to serve international students. Serve at a local housing development with international population, or become a tutor in a local literacy program. Visit large cities or participate in cross-cultural mission projects.

Engage internationals:
  • - Culture . Express interest, listen and learn. Ask about their culture, traditions and beliefs. Invite them to your home for dinner and holiday gatherings. Ask them to join you for church services, weddings and other social events.

  • - Language . Conversation helps develop language fluency. Depending on their level of proficiency, they may simply want to practice conversation, learn basics through flashcards or improve sentence structure through storytelling. They may be open to learning Bible stories, hearing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ or reading scripture.

  • - Needs . Language barriers and lack of family and friend support makes routine activities difficult. Offer to help a friend shop, accompany them to doctor appointments or help them fill out applications. Invite them to participate with your life group and come along on outings with other friends.

    Article: Intentional Relationships - The Key to Reaching International Students

  • Serve International Students

Students from all over the world come to the U.S. seeking cultural experiences in an educational setting.
- 80% of international students return to their country without having been invited to an American home.
- 90% of internationals leave the U.S. without having heard the gospel and been given an opportunity to respond.
- 40% of the 220 world heads of state attended school in the U.S.
- ETSU hosts students from 35 countries around the world.
The Office of International Programs and Services at ETSU has two programs to help international students adjust to living in a new country and culture. Both programs partner an international student with a U.S. resident meet practical needs and help international students adjust to life in the U.S.
- The International Buccaneer Buddy Program pairs new international students with a fellow college student as a "buddy" to show them around campus and help answer questions about campus life and American culture.
- The International Friendship Program is for anyone interested in greeting a college student upon arrival at the airport, inviting them into your home for 1-2 days and then helping them shop and move into campus housing.

ESL (English as a Second Language)

  • What is ESL? ESL is the teaching of English to people who speak a different language and who live in a country where English is the main language spoken.

  • Can I be involved with ESL if I cannot speak another language?  Yes! Anyone can help a non-English speaker practice basic conversation, respond to flashcards or identify word pictures.

  • How do I start?  Strike up a conversation and befriend a non-English speaker. Invite them to coffee or to hang out at a park. Just talk with them, ask questions about their culture and offer to help them learn English.

  • What if I need help? The GO Team can refer you to people in our church who are trained and experienced in helping non-English speakers learn English. They can provide coaching, refer you to resources or recommend training.

    - The Literacy Council of Kingsport offers programs for basic literacy and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Visit their website to learn about training opportunities for tutors and literacy programs for learners of all ages.  

    Visit The Literacy Council's website.  


ESL Resources

Ideas and learning exercises to engage non-English speakers.
ESL Overviews
Article: Teaching English as a Second Language Can Translate into Unique Opportunities to Share the Gospel.
Article: NAMB Literacy Ministry