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DBU International Blog

This job lets me be God's hands and feet to international students

IMG 1239 We at the International Office are so excited to be starting a new semester! To kick off Spring 2016 we are doing a new blog series highlighting some of our amazing faculty members here at DBU. This week I had the chance to sit down with Susie Lambright, and ask her some questions about her job. Ms. Lambright is passionate about serving and caring for International students, and we so appreciate everything she does for DBU International.

How did you get to DBU?

 “I have a background in student life. I was an RD for nine years at a university in Indiana where I am from. I ended up going to Lithuania, which is a small country in Eastern Europe working at a small private university. I was the director of community life. It was a volunteer position, and most of the other faculty/staff were volunteers, as well. They did this to keep the cost of attendance low so that students could afford to attend. I had to raise support here in the U.S. in order to go.

While I was there I met Dr. Debra McCollister, who is an English professor at DBU. We became fast friends, and that was the first time I heard about DBU. At the end of my third year in Lithuania I was looking for a job, and Dr. McCollister told me to send her my résumé. Within hours I had an email saying that they would like to interview me via Skype. The day before I moved back to the U.S. I got a call from DBU saying they wanted to send me an application. I had one more interview at DBU, and was offered the position.

I had another serious offer at the time, and I really prayed that weekend about where God wanted me to go, but there was just something in my spirit that told me DBU was where I was supposed to be. I packed up my car, and moved from northern Indiana to Dallas, and I have been here about two and a half years.”

 

What do you do at DBU?IMG 1235

 I am the Director of International student services, which means that I work with the team that coordinates the outside-of-the-classroom needs of our International students. This entails everything from housing, to transportation, to shopping trips, to tutoring services, to student clubs, to spiritual support. There is a team of six of us who work together to coordinate and plan all of these things, and I lead the team. I serve on a lot of committees, and I work with registration and retention for our International students.

One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to go to the hospital with students when they are sick. Obviously I never like it when students get sick, but I love being there to comfort and help them when they do have to go. I help translate if they need that, and I just get to be there for them. Because of that and other ways that I connect with DBU students, many International students call me their ‘DBU Mom.’”

 Why do you do what you do?

“This job lets me be God’s hands and feet to the students I serve. Oftentimes International students who come to DBU do not know the Lord, and while sharing the Gospel with them is important, it is equally important to show them Jesus through loving and caring for them. Many times it is in moments of crisis and fear that students see us treating them with love that Jesus becomes real to them in a new way. That is why we do the work that we do here. It is not just about getting an education, although that is important; it is about getting a Christ-centered education where students learn how to serve and minister to others. I want how I treat and care for students to reflect how Christ has taken care of me.”

 DBU students have been blessed with incredible professors and faculty members who love to serve, teach, lead, and point their students to Christ. Be on the look out for our next installment in blog series highlighting a few of these individuals, and if you see Ms. Lambright or any of our other faculty, make sure to thank them for all they do for our university!

Intensive English Program

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One of the most important parts of our International program at DBU is our Intensive English Program (IEP). This program is designed to give International students the opportunity to learn English and/or improve their English before beginning their academic studies at DBU.

Philip Homer, DBU’s director of IEP, sat down with me to talk more about the program. He said, “We have six levels of class groups for IEP. IEP students go to university chapel, and they take one academic credit course along with their English classes. IEP students get a full hour of tutoring each week along with their academic course. The IEP schedule is different than the most of the university’s schedule in that classes meet four times a week. Each level takes two months. If a student comes in at level one, it will usually take them about a year to finish every level. It is possible to skip levels, and sometimes students have to retake levels as well.”

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DBU has an excellent group of student tutors who work with our International students. A few of these tutors shared some of their experiences working with International students, and how working with these students has impacted their lives. “I wanted to tutor because I want to teach oversees someday. I love teaching English, so getting this experience has been a huge blessing to me, says Rachael, who has tutored for one semester. Rachel, another tutor, says, “I didn’t even know that International tutoring existed. I had to take an English class that required a service learning component, and one of my International friends told me about the tutoring program. I was a missionary kid, so I have loved getting to know students from all over the world.” “I realized that if I wanted to do mission work in the future, I needed to start now,” says Briana, the leader of the DBU International tutoring program. “I asked myself, ‘if I want to go to Africa or China later on, why am I not preparing for those experiences now?’ I jumped on a bus to go to an International retreat, and ended up meeting the head International tutor, who offered me a job.”IMG 1008

 

Olivia, another International tutor, shared a story of how tutoring International students opens the door for friendships between American students and International students. She says, “ I had a student who started coming to tutoring who had just started the IEP program. Her English was not very good yet, and she was not a Christian. I tutored her a couple times a week, and it was an opportunity for me to share the Gospel. We became close friends, and she finished the IEP program recently. I think that her story just goes to show that tutoring is so beneficial to both IEP students and to academic students. It is a great avenue for meeting other DBU students, as well.”

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Candace, an International student from China, is currently in the IEP program, and she sat down with me and shared all about her experience at DBU. “I have been here about five months, and I just started level six. I love the IEP instructors because they are patient and they make sure that we can always understand what they are teaching us. I especially love the tutoring time because they help us not only with our homework, but also with having conversations in English. DBU students are so friendly, and the IEP instructors are so knowledgeable. I also love the campus. In China we use the term Feng Shui to describe the DBU campus. It is so beautiful!”

For many International students, the Intensive English Program is the beginning of their academic experience in the U.S., and our IEP directors, instructors, and tutors are an essential part of making these students' DBU experience great. We are so thankful for their passion for teaching and their dedication to the International students at DBU!

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