What can we do to help facilitate this process? First, deal with our attitude about the reality of rapid change. How have we managed change in the past? How has our student friend managed major changes in his or her past? If we were successful in the past, then it would reason that we can do so again.
In the process, however, honesty and transparency in expressing our feelings in a safe environment with friends helps greatly. Sharing information, laughing about our reactions, naming our fears, evaluating our options, identifying obstacles to change, and listening to one another helps to ease the process. Choosing to make a plan to deal with specific changes also helps. We gain some sense of control returned to our lives.
Staying focused on desired outcomes is a large part of that process, as is celebrating our successful adaptation to change. One commentator said that the watchword for today is “adapt, adapt, adapt!”
Initiating conversations with our international student friends about these types of issues can significantly help students gain a vocabulary for dealing with them. What’s more, our students can learn from our positive examples. Helping them voice the emotions which are normal with the process of adapting is a great help to them as is the safe environment we can provide in which they can discuss these things.
Principles cited in this blog: Awareness of stages in dealing with change and gaining a vocabulary about the accompanying emotions is important for ourselves but more so for our international student friends. Taking initiative to have discussion aides the process of change.
Application for ISI ministry: Providing a safe environment to process through adapting to change is a beginning point, and walking beside students to help them feel safe to work on rapid change is a wonderful service we can provide.
Next blog topic: Preparing myself and students to lead change in our families, places of work, and culture.
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson