Children of missionaries adjust to American culture

As students enter college they must adapt to living on their own, but those moving to school from another country not only have to adjust to campus life but also American culture.

“Missionary kids” at California Baptist University come from various backgrounds because a majority of their childhood was spent traveling through different countries around the world.

Hannah Brubeck, junior anthropology major, was born in Missouri but grew up in Tanzania before moving to South Africa. Brubeck said it took some time to become acquainted with the fast-paced way of life at college and overcome initial culture shock.

“It’s almost the same as any college student,” Brubeck said. “You’re separated from your parents so there’s going to be homesickness. I associated my family with the places I had lived so it was much more than missing family, it was missing the different cultures (themselves).”

Brubeck said her favorite part about growing up overseas was the bond she formed with her family and being able to see her parents witness to those around her.

“Going to different cultures is cool because you see where the Lord works in different areas because we really do at times put (God) in a box in the way he works,” Brubeck said. “When you go to other cultures, you see his creativity in the gospel and how people understand it.”

Jonmarc Bennett, freshman philosophy major, grew up in Tokyo and moved to the United States for college. He said growing up overseas has had its benefits, but social differences have made it difficult to adjust.

“Specifically, for me, the cultural understanding of respect and individuality was hard to adjust to,” Bennett said. “In Japan, we show respect by honoring a person’s personal space, not stating one’s opinion, and sometimes silence. These, among other differences, contributed to a hard transition.”

Jessi Bullis, junior psychology major, said it is easy for a person to place his or her identity in the culture in which he or she is currently living. Feelings of lost identity can come to the surface when one has to move away from that specific culture.

“It’s recognizing that I need to put my identity in something that’s going to last, which is God,” Bullis said.

Bullis said she hopes to counsel missionary kids one day in helping them realize one’s culture does not define them and only through Christ people can know who they truly are.

About Paulina Pirveysian

Asst. Lifestyle Editor

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