Could you imagine going to a foreign country and upon arrival you are completely taken back by everything you see? The food, the culture, the language, the customs, and the people are nothing like you expected. This situation is called “culture shock.”

The 29 Papuan students who recently came to Corban literally experienced culture shock upon their arrival in the U.S. They safely landed in Los Angeles on Jan 8. . There are a total of 29 students and most of them had never learned English before. Due to the language barrier, 24 students were held up in the immigration office and missed their flight to Portland and to take a later flight and arrived at 2 a.m. instead of 8 p.m.

Current Pathways students and past CUEST students with Evan Brammer.

Current Pathways students and past CUEST students with Evan Brammer.

“We only learned English three months before we came here,” said Arso Gombo.

All of these 29 students are a part of the Pathway to English program in the Corban Language Institute.

The Pathway to English program (formerly CUEST) is a program for specifically for Papuan students to increase their English language proficiency and communication skills.

“They will study English until they are proficient enough to be a part of the undergraduate program,” said Evan Brammer, Director of the Corban Language Institute.

The journey of studying English and soon becoming college students will be challenging for these Papuan students. As the Corban community, we can help them grow in this community by surround them, embrace them, and love them. We need to realize that we are all foreigners in some way, but when we are welcomed by the locals, our experience is better – so it is also so for the locals. The more the Corban community specifically reaches out and engages with these students, the better we all will be.

And one thing we need to understand is yes, their skin color is different. Yes, their language is different. Yes, their culture is different. But, the Lords whom we served is the same and in Him we are all the same people who live in the same sinful world. As Peter said in Acts 10:34-35 “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”

One fun fact, we might not speak the same language but we do smile in the same language.