International Student Edition
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ”–2 Corinthians 2:14. Our Heavenly Father calls us to a daily life of victory in Jesus; this is impossible by our own strength but doable by the power of the Holy Spirit. And for Christian international students, this means being an overcomer instead of struggling to survive, being depressed, or compromising our faith. Here I share 10 of many victorious tips that helped me make it as a Christian international student amidst the perverse generation of my university.
- Pray, pray, pray: I can’t emphasize enough how prayer helped me sail through my journey as an international student. Whenever I was afraid, I prayed; whenever I was going through a struggle, I prayed; whenever I needed money, I prayed, etc. I like a passage in Matthew 26:41 which says “watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Ask the Father daily to fill you with the Holy Spirit, there’s no way you can make it without Him. Pray, pray, pray, let God be your first resort to all challenges.
- Read, study, and apply the Bible: There’s a scary passage in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” I call it ‘scary’ because it shows us that lack of love and knowledge of the Word of God destroy us! If Jesus used Bible verses to oppose the devil during His 40-day fasting in the desert, what makes us think that we can be victorious without the Bible? I understand that university life is extremely busy and exhausting, however, if you recognize the importance of knowing the Word of God, you will make adjustment to your saturated schedule.
- Fast: Fasting is a spiritual discipline that works! When you decide to set aside food to concentrate on the Lord, it builds you up and gives you power to overcome the desires of the flesh. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come”-1 Timothy 4:8.
- Listen to praise music: When I listened to praise music in my dorms, it uplifted my spirit. Especially when I used to listen to songs from back home, it brought such a comfort. Listening and singing to praise music relieved me when I was sad, afraid, or anxious. If possible, find a way to play praise music 24/7 in your room, you will be blessed.
- Be open to new types of friends: One of the ways to enrich your international experience is to be open to new types of friends. Don’t just limit yourself to the people of the same community as you. Be willing to interact with people of different nationalities, religions, social statuses, races, or cultures; you can learn a lot from them.
- Learn to be responsible: Learn how to cook healthy meals, clean your place (without grumbling), pay bills on time, submit school assignments on time, repair things on your own as much as possible (e.g. troubleshoot PC, sew a shirt button), spend money wisely, and so on.
- Look for a job or volunteer position: This will help in taking your mind away from homesickness while increasing your skills and building up your résumé. Depending on the position you find, it can open an opportunity to assist those in need and erase your self-centeredness.
- Be careful who you associate with: Whether it be friends or church members, be sober and vigilant in all things. Don’t get carried away by the behaviors of unspiritual friends. You can interact with them but don’t familiarize yourself with their lifestyle. Churches of nowadays are not led by the Holy Spirit, so be careful not to associate with vision killers or the devil’s agents. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits”-1 Corinthians 15:33.
- Be a good testimony of Christ: The world is used to see Christians disgracing their God through shameful acts, now this is the opportunity to show them another picture. A favorite verse of mine is 1 Peter 2:12 “be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” When we submit to the Word of God, it provides us with wisdom (Prov1:7) to make great decisions. And just imagine the difference it will make for your friends/classmates to experience the presence of Christ through you; living a godly life will speak louder than any words.
- Your grades may not be good at first, but press on: This is an issue I encountered during my first semesters in university: My grades were not good. I was trying to adjust to everything while studying as a maniac that my grades got affected along the way. I was used to getting great grades in high school that these results came as a shock.The Lord taught me to press on, do my best and leave the rest to Him. And this is what I will advise you too. Don’t make school your god, don’t let your studies consume you, rather honor the Heavenly Father and it will go well with you.