Community, friendship, and a place to belong: That’s why Young Life is perfect for the expat/international youth of Amsterdam
Expat/international youth long for a sense of community and belonging. They want a place to feel at home. A place where others understand their experiences, lifestyle, language and struggles. A sense of identity can be found around other expats and internationals who understand these things. Third-Culture Kids also need to feel like they belong. An important sense of belonging is knowing people and having people know you. A place where “everybody knows your name.” (Insert Cheers theme song here.)
Young Life focuses on community and belonging. The weekly gathering called Club is a time of having fun, making friends, and feeling like you belong to a bigger group. Leaders focus on developing relationships with the youth and helping them connect with other teens. To coin a Starbucks term, it’s a teen’s “third place.” A place other than home and school that they can feel like they belong, relax, and know people. And those people also know them.
In Amsterdam, Young Life will be able to help internationals, expats, third-culture kids, whatever-you-want-to-call-them, feel a sense of community, home, and identity as they navigate in a new culture with a new language and new friends. Young Life provides a safe environment for teens to connect with other teens. It’s a place where all types of people are welcome and can feel like part of the group.
It’s also a lot of fun! That’s something that all teens, and us leaders, enjoy about Young Life. And we don’t hide it. We have a chance to do stupid, crazy, fun things as a group. Having fun breaks down barriers, opens people up, and relieves stress. For teens moving to a new place and having to “start over,” this is very important. (And also for their parents)
Young Life International uses a common language that most international school teens speak, English. That means teens can be understood and understand what others are saying. This helps when they have new experiences and frustrations they want to talk about. And with Young Life being in over 90 countries around the world, hopefully they can find a local group to connect with if they move to another country and already feel like they have a sense of belonging.
Along with all the positives about Young Life listed above, the best one is being able to share the love of God and the Gospel with teens and their families. An expat group in Amsterdam told us a couple years ago that it’s important for people to know there are churches and spiritual groups available for them. When life gets tough and difficult, most people look toward something spiritual. Young Life is unafraid, while having fun and building relationships, to share God’s love and His desire to have a relationship with not only the teens we work with, but everyone on earth.
So that’s why Young Life is a great fit for the international, expat, Third-Culture-Kids of Amsterdam. It’s a fun, safe, loving environment that not only provides a sense of belonging, community, and friendship, but also shares something more important, the Gospel and God’s love.