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The Office of International Studies, in conjunction with other organizations and offices on campus, works hard to provide opportunities for international students to get connected on campus and off campus.

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ORGANIZATIONS WITH AN INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

International Student Club

The International Student Club serves to support LETU international students, as well as form a community that connects students across many cultures, promotes friendships and provides opportunities for fun and food among group members. Not all members are international students, and all are welcomed. However, all club officers are international students. 

Student Intercultural Connections Program (SINC)

The Student INtercultural Connections Program (SINC) is designed for current LETU students to join with new international students to learn about each other’s cultures and worldviews. Students are put in small groups that hang out and do activities during the semester and earn points towards winning prize money at the end! The competition is tracked on Facebook and Instagram.

TARMAC

TARMAC is a ten-week program for Third Culture Kids (TCKs). TARMAC is one way LeTourneau is working to make sure this student population succeeds not only at school, but in life as they go forward.

TARMAC exists to deal with these unique challenges and creates an environment in which these students can process their grief over losing their "foreign" culture and all the people who went with it.

TARMAC students meet once a week with the TARMAC leader in his/her home. The program works through the major emotional, spiritual, and psychological challenges TCKs face. The content of TARMAC covers where the TCKs have been (mapping the journey), the definition of a TCK, the challenges of rootlessness and restlessness, cultural identity, TCK relational patterns, loss in the TCK experience, grieving healthily, and planning for the future.

During their time at LETU, these students will also get together for informal times of fun. Since the research indicates that TCKs typically struggle the most between the ages of 25-40, LeTourneau's TARMAC program seeks to prevent student's current struggles from becoming lifelong ones.

 

THIRD CULTURE KIDS

A Third Culture Kid or TCK is any person who has spent a significant amount of their developmental years outside their parents' home culture. This includes children of missionaries, the military or business. For LeTourneau, it predominantly means an MK or Missionary Kid. For decades, LeTourneau has been home to young people who have spent a good part of their childhood living overseas and then come "home" for their college education.

TCKs have been shown in research to struggle with many unique challenges when transitioning back into their "home" culture (their passport culture).

Research indicates that TCKs struggle because they become, in essence, "hidden immigrants" in their home culture. While TCKs at LeTourneau are, for the most part, from American families, their culture is a mix of American culture and the culture of the country where their parents serve. This mix of cultures causes them to have a third culture (hence the name, TCK), which is some of both of the cultures, but not fully either of them. This also causes them to not fit in well with traditional American culture. Some TCKs that come to LeTourneau are not American, however. This program is set up to welcome and embrace them also, as TARMAC is not "American-specific." The curriculum takes into consideration the general struggles of all TCKs, not one culture specifically.

Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that these students have, in essence, lost their entire world once they got on the airplane to come to the United States. This loss has a powerful impact on them emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.