International gathering provides ‘home away from home’



by Jana Milan

UK’s campus may seem large to new students, but it could be especially intimidating to students who are not from the US.

The Baptist College Ministry, located on Columbia Avenue, hosts International Fellowship Nights to help campus seem more like home for these students.

The fellowships usually consist of international food, students talking about what God has done in their lives, sharing prayer requests and praises and just hanging out with other people in the fellowship.

International Fellowship Network created the International Fellowship Night. The International Fellowship Network is a student organization that aims to serve God by serving international students.

The group started in January 2005, and Earl Ogata, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Asbury College, founded it.

Ogata said had an idea of creating an international group as a way for the BCM to serve the international students.

“The goal of the group is to build a support system and to help get international students acclimated to life in the United States,” Ogata said.

Albert Kalim, one of the International Fellowship Night leaders. said the program was established because of the needs of international students on campus.

“A lot of students don’t have a home away from home, so our goal is to be that home away from home for them,” Kalim said.

The speaker at the next International Fellowship Night on Saturday will be professor Peter Kerr from Asbury College. The theme of this fellowship night is “Getting Over the Gender Gap,” focusing on dating and relationships.

The topic relates on a personal level to Jacqueline Chen, who met her husband through International Fellowship Network.

Like Chen, there are currently five other couples who are engaged or recently married that met through the program.

“This group of people is so accepting, and very open-minded,” Chen said.

About 50 people attend most fellowships, 15 nations are represented and 7 local churches participate. The group also invites speakers from different countries to share their stories about coming to the US.

Michael Chen, a graduate student who lived in Taiwan and Belize before coming to Kentucky, said the International Fellowship Night had a great impact on him while completing his undergraduate education.

“I think I found family, and a lot of the people there are my friends,” Michael Chen said. “They are a good support group. If I ever needed prayer or help or support, they were always there.”

The next International Fellowship Night will be Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.