Every year, hundreds of international students flock to Dublin to learn English. It can be a difficult experience, being so far from home and having to find your own space in a new culture, while dealing with a language barrier. Dublin International Outreach is many things – a chance to meet new people and encounter new cultures, a way to develop new skills but at its heart, Dublin International Outreach is a opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these international students.
For two weeks, students were invited to come to Immanuel Church Dublin for our International Café, both to practise their English and to learn more about the Bible. We spent our days reading the gospel of John in preparation for Bible discussions, practising dramas and putting together activities – and we spent our evenings chatting to the students, running games and presenting the night. Every night was different – from a talent night with songs and long stories to Irish night, featuring quirky Irish words and Irish dancing, to chocolate night where everyone feasted on the chocolate fountain; there was never a dull moment. Every night students were invited to read a little of the gospel of John to find out more of who God is.
I loved Dublin International Outreach. Highlights include compiling a lengthy quote list and many many chats on language differences. Fun fact – the word “banjaxed” does not exist outside of Ireland and people will give you strange looks if you mention it. I also enjoyed the chance to delve deeply into the book of John, to explore the city of Dublin and to get to know people from different cultures. In 2018, the DIO team was very culturally diverse – people came from all over the world, from Wicklow to Madrid to Brazil, and then there was me, from a tiny town in Northern Ireland. I am not actually from Belfast originally but it’s definitely more well–known than Kilkeel to your average Venezuelan – so I was from Belfast for 2 weeks. Sometimes I was just Irish – you try explaining Northern Ireland to someone learning English! I met so many Christians from different places but as I travelled home from Dublin, I was truly struck by how universal Jesus Christ is, that he works across all backgrounds and cultures.
Rebecca Davidson, DIO Team Member 2018