Janna Christian, GSPD

Janna Christian, the administrative coordinator for Global Student Programs and Development (GSPD), listed a variety of services available for global students. In an email, she explained that Biola’s International Admissions team is in touch with international students prior to their arrival in the United States, and GSPD works with global students after they have landed in Los Angeles. 

“Global Orientation is the primary service GSPD offers, and this includes airport pickup, help moving into dorms, informational sessions, fun community-building activities, meals together, a Target run to buy dorm supplies, help with setting up bank accounts and cell phone services and more,” Christian said. 

Christian described several social events GSPD hosts each year, including a ramen night, self-care night, hikes, picnics and a Christmas party. She also described GSPD-run workshops that teach students how to file taxes and apply for jobs. In the fall semester, GSPD hosts Night of Thankfulness, which Christian described as a Friendsgiving-type celebration for global students. Another event is Meet the Neighbors, a cultural highlight fair in the spring where students host a table representing their home country. 

“One of the primary goals of GSPD is to create an atmosphere that welcomes and celebrates what globals bring to the broader Biola community by raising awareness about their unique needs and experiences,” Christian said. 

Christian pointed to weekly community groups where global students can meet to strengthen friendships and work through culture shock and homesickness. She highlighted a specific group for missionary kids and third culture kids. Students can also attend the Global Voices Chapel each semester, a place where global students share their stories and the Biola community participates in multilingual worship. 

Christian also described the GSPD leadership training program, where five coordinators and about 20 interns work to connect global students and the larger Biola community. Global students who would like to get involved with the GSPD leadership team can visit biola.edu/gspd/team. Those who would like to learn more about GSPD or get more involved in general can visit biola.edu/gspd. Another resource is Global Faces of Biola, an Instagram account that highlights students from diverse cultures at @gfobproject.

Christian emphasized that GSPD desires to support global students during their years at the university. 

“We do our best to stay in touch with globals throughout their time at Biola,” Christian said. “This is largely determined by how involved a student decides to be with the global community, but our hope is to provide the space for students to engage and stay connected, and to be a central hub where globals can come for information and help.”

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