Colliding cultures - The Echo News

Colliding cultures

International education brings new insight

Freshman Christina Kim embraces Taylor culture with arms wide open.

Freshman Christina Kim embraces Taylor culture with arms wide open. (Photo provided by Christina Kim.)

By Brianna Kudisch | Echo

Traveling to college sometimes means a long drive or even a flight for incoming students. However, for freshman music education major Christina Kim, it meant a two-day journey involving a ferry ride, two flights and more time in the car than it takes to get to a sprawling metropolitan from Taylor.

Kim, an international student originally from South Korea, recently graduated from an international Christian boarding school in Malaysia. With missionary parents working in Indonesia, Kim’s definition of home stretched among multiple countries in Southeast Asia. With her arrival in Upland this August, Kim will have one more place to call home.

Initially drawn to Taylor after her brother, junior Shawn Kim, had a positive experience, Kim wanted to follow in his footsteps and come to Taylor primarily for the university’s reputation for an engaging, intentional community.

“Hearing many things about typical college lives, I realized that people here are different.” Kim said. “There are many godly, friendly, and wonderful people in Taylor.”

Kim considered other Christian colleges such as Azusa Pacific University and Gordon College, but ultimately landed on Taylor because she felt called to go here, citing that it was the perfect fit for her.

Kim knew and studied under a Taylor alumnus before her brother even went to school here; her Bible teacher, Susan Allen, an American who teaches in Malaysia, attended Taylor.

Despite many prospective students’ reluctance to come to a school surrounded by seemingly endless cornfields, Kim embraced the rural environment and was excited at the prospect of growing closer to other students because of Taylor’s remoteness.

“I think (the seclusion) makes Taylor amazing because people can spend more time together and invest in each other’s lives,” Kim said. “My first impression of Indiana as I left the airport was that the weather was cooler than Asia. Indiana’s summer weather is perfect compared to Malaysia.”

She hopes to grow spiritually, academically and socially on Taylor’s campus, especially through combining her musical abilities and experiences as an international student.

Kim has firsthand experience with the emotional impact of leaving behind familiar places, so she plans to help future international students settle in at Taylor. She also aims to build lasting relationships with friends and professors.

Kim’s position as a freshman international student enables her to gain a new perspective, allowing an open space for diverse stories.

Kim emphasized her trust in God allowed her to find peace on this campus despite the long physical and emotional journey she took to get here.

“Trust in God, and he will provide you with more than you can imagine and take you (to) places you could not think of,” Kim advised. “And be willing to surrender to the Lord.”

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