I had never seen my mother cry harder. She struggled to breathe as she sobbed. I struggled to breathe as she embraced me. My father tried to remain calm, only hints of emotion in the corner of his eyes. After a long hug, my mom let go, and my parents watched me zig-zag through the security line, still waving as I entered the terminal.
I endured 26 hours of flights and layovers and finally landed in Istanbul; but that was not my final destination. My classmates and I grabbed our bags, then headed to the metro. It all seemed so complicated: take the metro to the bus to the ferry to another bus. I tried to pay attention to what was going on around me, but there was too much to take in. Every neighborhood looked the same. Every person looked the same. Every word sounded the same. Everyone seemed to stare. And I stared back.
What is this place? Can this be my new home? I was excited and nervous. So nervous that I pulled the cord to stop the bus, one station too early. When we finally tumbled off the bus, my roommate informed me that our home was just down the hill. I tightly gripped my new suitcases, one in each hand, we slowly made our way down the hill so that our suitcases won’t careen down before us, only to have to carry them up four flights of stairs. I was never so frustrated, so tired, so hopeful, and so overwhelmed.
Maybe you felt the same way, stepping off the plane and into this strange country called America. You too have left your homeland and family, and traveled across the globe to plant yourself among a foreign people.
We at Bridges understand this story. Your story is our story.
And all across America there are one million students who share our story. We are foreigners in a foreign land. We are the adventurers who dare to go new places and explore new ideas. We are future leaders, people who will change the world.
We are Bridges International
We, as a Bridges community, recognize the unique role international students play in our global world. We know the triumph, joy, struggles, and burdens of being an international student because we have spent years as international students and serving international students. We, as a Bridges community, care about you and want to be a resource to you.
Service: We help in practical ways. From holidays to football, to networking tips and more, we connect you with Americans and their culture.
Social: Relationships are hard to build when you’re abroad! We provide tools to help you grow in deeper friendships here and at home.
Spiritual: We challenge you to think deeply about the world and yourself. We know that your time in America is going to change your life and we believe that by talking about deep issues you can make the most of your experience here.
Student leadership: We believe you have the power to change the world. We provide you with resources for personal growth and development so you grow as a leader internationally.
We hope Bridges becomes your home away from home as you navigate through this new world. And we pray that this blog would bless you throughout your time in America and beyond!
What are you looking for? What struggles or joys do you have? Reach out to join the Bridges community of international and local people and tell us your story.