You may think that this applies slightly less to us Calvin College students, since Calvin manages to bring international students from all over the world to our campus. At Calvin, I already have so many friends from around the world. However, there is something uniquely different between making international friends during time within your country of origin and within another country.
Living in another country changes the dynamic of these relationships more drastically than you might realize. Where you are changes the power dynamic in the relationship, regardless of whether you recognize this or not. When you are in your country of origin, you obviously are familiar with the language, the social norms and customs, and all the little quirks that come with a new culture. This knowledge inevitably gives you a slight advantage and power in a relationship with a 'foreigner', allowing you to play ‘host' and show them the 'American' ropes.
However, in a new country, you are a guest. You are the foreigner invading their space, with no prior knowledge of the way life works. This creates a uniquely new situation, one that is more humbling. Making international friends in a new country gives you the opportunity to receive their warm welcomes and be corrected when you make mistakes in normal interaction. These friendships are extremely special, as you get to see the love of Jesus firsthand in their willingness to work with you despite your clear disadvantage in social normalcy.