By Ken Cheng
Advanced Writing, English Language Institute
Spring 2016

How did I come to FOCUS?

I am from Taiwan and I’m an international student in North Central College from fall term 2015 to spring term 2016. When I first arrived, I wish I could have a great group of friends to hang out with and create the most unforgettable memories ever. Personally, because of the language barrier and cultural conflicts, making friends was a big problem for me. Therefore, I decided to find clubs to join, trying to be involved. And turned out it worked really well. Out of all the clubs I have been to, if you ask me, I would suggest FOCUS, which is my favorite one.

What is FOCUS?

FOCUS is a Christian club. We have a regular time for gathering together, which is on Wednesday each week from 9 pm to 10 pm. Although it might be not the best time for some who have to commute every day, you will only wish we can stay longer every single time.

Here is how the FOCUS routine goes:

First, we would sign our names, checking the attendance. In the meaning time, it is a good chance to talk and greet with everyone. All of them are extremely friendly, especially if you were new to there.

Secondly, we do worshiping (At the beginning and the end). In other words, sing the Christ songs together. Under a bit blurry and dark light, there is a FOCUS band on the stage. After preying, we sing. It was still clear to me that I was new and stunned how relaxed and homey the atmosphere there is. I felt all my stresses were removed.

Then, one of the FOCUS members would give a meaningful speech, which is about their own experience in how they went through the difficulties with God. It is really interesting to me that how everyone apply their belief to their lives.

Finally, after worshiping, our time officially ends. At this time, there are some snacks prepared for us.

Besides chatting for a while again before leaving, sometimes people decide to eat out together, such a close relationships that I am really enjoy.

 photo Ken FOCUS photo 1_zpsej1ryetz.jpg

Outdoors activity

If you think that’s it, you are wrong! For each term, we also have retreat where we go to stay in a cabin in the forest for 2 days. In this opportunity, we have fun, get along with one another, relax, reflect, etc.

 photo Ken FOCUS photo 2_zpsrhzbprmm.jpg
 photo Ken FOCUS photo 3_zpsynfpzvgn.jpg

As an international student, I think…

Since almost all of the members here are American students, it was a big challenge for me to get along with everyone in the beginning. But, people here are one of a kind. They have accepted me and are patient to try to communicate with me even though it may take a lot of their time.

I started to feel confident to speak English and learned so many from them. We also have a group on Facebook called “FOCUS Fam”. Everybody shares their lives freely and sometimes some send their prayer request to ask for praying. It is so warm that people will always send the encouraging message back.

I was so lucky that I could join FOCUS. Actually, I was never taught anything about Christianity before I joined FOCUS. Although I decided to open my mind, I was still a bit worried that I could not be accepted and get involved. However, all I got from them were love. I have never felt uncomfortable or being forced to do anything that I didn’t want to.

I appreciate this wonderful club and every single member. In FOCUS, I build my friend groups, have exclusive experiences with American students, learn English, and on the top of it, I feel like I am home.


About the ELI Blog Series

Cardinals World in collaboration with the English Language Institute (ELI) is proud to feature blog work by students in the ELI program. This is a part of a class assignment at the intermediate and advanced levels. The assignment lets students practice writing for a real-life, authentic audience in order to become strong and effective writers.

The English Language Institute (ELI) is a full-time intensive English program designed to prepare international students for admission to a U.S. college or university by developing academic, professional and social English language skills. Students typically come to North Central College for a term or a year to study English and  engage in various cultural experiences.

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