What is International Friendships (IFI)?
IFI’s mission is to extend life-changing hospitality and friendship to international students out of reverence to Jesus.
IFI is a Christian community organization that works in partnership with universities and volunteers to promote friendship and hospitality for international students, scholars and family members. IFI links international students with American volunteers from local churches who are interested in cross-cultural exchange and who help meet the various practical needs internationals face in living in another culture. IFI also partners with internationals through on-campus student organizations.
Who may participate?
Our programs and activities are open to students of all nationalities and religions; any international student, visiting scholar, or spouse who wants to get to know other international students and American volunteers can participate. Families are always welcome.
How can International Friendships help you?
Social: International Friendships provides opportunities for you to meet Americans who will open their homes and hearts to you. They can help you practice English and will spend time learning about you and your country. They will also help you learn more about America.
Cultural: Throughout the year, International Friendships takes trips to various places of interest in the United States. These could be day or extended trips. Special activities are often planned during holidays.
Spiritual: Small groups meet weekly to talk about the Bible. Visits to local churches can also be arranged. We also have programs and activities for children.
Help: When you first arrive, volunteers are available to pick you up at the airport and/or provide temporary housing for up to 4 days. We also have volunteers who will meet with you to help you practice your English. Finally, we are here to help you and answer any questions you may have about life in America. We want you to feel at home in Columbus, Ohio.
Does IFI work with the University’s International Student Offices?
While the relationship between IFI and the university will vary from campus to campus, IFI respects the role of university officials engaged in serving international students and scholars. We strive to have a high level of integrity and responsibility in our interactions with university officials and with international students and scholars. We adhere to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Statement of Ethical Principles in our ministry to international students and scholars.