International Student Association connects students from around the globe

Wed, 2013-03-27 09:25 -- univcomm
March 27, 2013

“The International Student Association is an incredible way to connect to the larger world around us and meet other cultures," said Cindy Sprunger, director of International Student Services at Anderson University. "ISA gives American students an opportunity to get to know different cultures. These experiences may prepare you for future encounters later in life."

The International Student Association (ISA) is open to all students, whether the students are children of missionaries, international students, or students who have a broad interest in different cultures. The organization allows students from all backgrounds to come together and celebrate their uniqueness while exposing others to their cultures. One of the greatest benefits of the ISA is its ability to allow students to share their stories with one another and with students at AU. [Photo: Freshman Samuel Lee]

Connections with international schools

SanNa Lee is a sophomore majoring in French and part of the International Student Association. SanNa was born in South Korea, where her dad was pastor to all the local cattle farmers. At the age of three, she moved to the Philippines and then to Turkey, where she later started kindergarten in a Turkish school.

SanNa went on to attend a small international school with other missionary families until fifth grade, when she went back into the Turkish schools. SanNa’s’s father managed a website, which contained educational and ministerial materials for free. He also started a church in a rural area, requiring the family to move and for SanNa to be homeschooled.

“Besides going to church, I didn’t want to go outside because I would get harassed a lot. As soon as I would walk out, people would yell rude comments. It was very disturbing,” said SanNa. SanNa’s parents realized that she needed to be in a more welcoming environment and decided to send her to the Black Forest Academy (BFA), a boarding school in Germany. BFA has a connection with AU, which allowed SanNa to learn about Anderson University when deciding on a college.

This year, Anderson University was fortunate to have 27 students with Korean citizenship come to campus. Of those, 24 are children of missionaries. Most students who come from Korea hear about AU from boarding schools and Church of God congregations in the area.

Sharing stories of self determination

Another student who came to AU through the Black Forest Academy is Samuel Lee, a freshman majoring in math and chemistry. Samuel was born in South Korea, but moved to China after the completion of elementary school. After he learned Chinese and graduated from a Chinese middle school, Samuel’s family moved back to Korea to be host parents for North Korean refugees for a year. During this year, Samuel was not enrolled in school, so he studied independently and taught himself English.

After finishing his GED for Korean high school education and taking the Chinese version of the SAT, Samuel was accepted to Chinese medical school, Korean colleges and an international Christian school in Germany. He spent much time praying, and felt like the right decision was to go to the international school in Germany.

“I entered the school as a sophomore, so I was older than the other students,” said Samuel. “I finished three years there and enjoyed it a lot.”

During these many years of education, Samuel also assisted at a leprosy clinic, where he helped translate and assist the doctors and nurses.

“The leprosy clinic was in China, where there were only three doctors from the states, two being Korean-Americans. The nurses were Chinese. There was English, Chinese and Korean all being spoken. I happened to speak all those languages, so I got to help in all areas, even surgeries,” said Samuel.

Stories of diversity

The lives of both SanNa and Samuel bring unique stories to the campus of AU. The ISA is filled with other international students who also have stories of growing up in a diverse environment.

“The International Student Association allows for third culture students to connect. Even though we are so different from each other, we are used to the differences, therefore it is familiar,” said Samuel.

— Leah Streeval is a junior from Edinburgh, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in entrepreneurship. Streeval is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.