On Saturday, June 1 , a new international student was scheduled to arrive for language school at Oklahoma Christian. Apprehensive about the trip, Daisuke Hiwatashi (’17) boarded his plane from Japan and began his very first journey to the United States. Arriving in Chicago after hours in a cramped cabin, Daisuke discovered that, due to a deadly tornado in Oklahoma City, his next flight was cancelled. Unfamiliar with the US and with little English-speaking ability, eighteen-year-old Daisuke would be forced to navigate the Chicago airport for more than 24 hours.
With some counsel from OC’s international programs team, Daisuke got on another flight and finally found his way to OC late Sunday night, only hours before his first classes were slated to begin. Exhausted and stressed, his thoughts turned to his dorm room. A few hours of relaxation would do him wonders, but he didn’t even have bedding--and figuring out where and how to purchase the basics would be yet another challenge at the end of a very, very long weekend.
As he opened the door to his room, Daisuke was greeted with an almost overwhelming surprise. There, on his bed, was everything he needed. Sheets, blankets, towels, and other essentials sat waiting for him, bound with a simple note saying “Welcome Home.” No need for another ordeal. Daisuke could settle into his new home right away. And all because an OC family knew his need and decided to meet it.
“I really like what OC did for me when I came,” says Daisuke. “It was so nice to rest right away!”
Each year, stories like Daisuke’s play out for dozens of international students choosing to study at OC—students who face long trips across major cultural lines, who must make do with whatever pieces of home they can squeeze in a suitcase. But you can make this momentous move easier. Donations from OC alumni and friends to our Welcome Kits Program help say "OC is Home" for new students from China, Rwanda, Honduras and many other countries around the world.
For each gift of $50 or more, we purchase many of the dorm basics and have them waiting in the room of one arriving international student. We also use Welcome Kit donations to plan different events throughout the year to help each student make the necessary adjustment to life in the US.
Sponsoring a Welcome Kit is special and easy. Click here to give $25, $50, $75, $150 or more to help welcome OC's new international students to campus this year (we’ll do the rest!).
From Daisuke, and all of us here, thanks for being on the front line of introducing our international students to the OC spirit. Your warm welcome is a gesture they never forget!
Thank you in advance for helping us make OC feel more like home to our students from around the world!