A Series Looking into BMC’s Growing International Population
Blue Mountain College is home to many students from various walks of life, including a growing population of international students. BMC currently has 26 students who hail from 6 of the 7 continents on earth. Of these 26, only three come from missionary families, but all have life experiences different from the rest of the students on campus. From the harsh winters of Russia to the warm equatorial countries, this series will pursue the influence of these students as well as their culture, their hardships, and their life in the States.
Nancy Grisham, the Coordinator of International Student Support, said that she believes BMC has a “great group of international students,” but also mentioned that being an international student is very challenging in ways many do not expect or think about. International students are expected to come to Mississippi, United States of America, pick up the language, and adjust to class work and sports in a very short amount of time in a very unfamiliar place. Furthermore, international students have very limited access to transportation, making runs to the doctor or even just the grocery store a chore. Despite all of this, however, these students still decide to attend Blue Mountain. As Ms. Grisham said, “They really have to want it.”
Addie Grace Putnam, BMC sophomore, is a Missionary Kid who was based in Russia for 14 years. Though she was not brought to Blue Mountain College to play sports like the majority of the international students, she was decidedly brought to BMC. “I came because this is where God called me,” said Putnam.
When interviewed, Ms. Grisham was posed the question, “What can [students] do to help?”
The international student program is relatively new to our campus, and therefore, some resources, activities, and necessities are currently not being met, but the program is going forward. Students are being connected with families and homes, and some seem to be sticking for a lifetime. Alumni are providing funds to supply these students with bed clothes and toiletries, items that are notoriously difficult to carry in travel. The program is working toward cultural trips around Mississippi and the surrounding states, and toward organizing a list of local/national students with vehicles who are willing to provide transportation assistance and a friendly hand.
Also, the international students are preparing to do something for the campus in the coming weeks and months. These students will be preparing food from their countries in the cafeteria to share with the student body.
Blue Mountain College is a special place, full of many special people from different towns, states, countries, and continents. How beautiful to be able to gather together as one body!