1. Who is IFI and how can I get involved?
IFI's mission is to extend life-changing hospitality and friendship to international students out of reverence to Jesus.
International students often struggle with culture shock, stress, and loneliness when leaving their homes to study in the US. International Friendships, Inc. (IFI) is a national organization partnering with local churches, universities, and volunteers to provide life-changing hospitality and friendship to international students. We work strategically to make the world feel at home and extend God’s love globally — right where we are.
IFI is in many locations across the US, and each location offers a variety of activities for students. Popular activities include airport pickup, temporary housing with a local American volunteer, trips across America, group discussions of the Bible, English conversation partners and much more. To learn more about a particular activity, please visit that location's website.
2. Why are many of IFI's activities free? How does IFI make money?
IFI is a Christian nonprofit organization and is not trying to make money from international students. Most of our activities are provided free by volunteers who want to show kindness to international students arriving in the United States. IFI is financially supported by generous donors who believe in befriending international students and want to help out.
3. 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.
4. Should I pay or tip IFI volunteers who pick me up from the airport?
No. These services are free, provided by the Christians who support and volunteer in IFI.
5. Do I have to be a Christian to join IFI activities?
No. All IFI events are open to international students from any religious or cultural background. All are welcome!
6. What kinds of yearly activities does IFI offer?
IFI activities vary by location, so be sure to check out your local IFI events by finding their website here. Below is a sample schedule of events from one of our locations!
A Year at a Glance
January - Airport pickup/short-term housing for new arrivals, English partners meet one-on-one, Small groups meet weekly (Continues all year)
February - Lunar New Year Celebration, Winter Retreat, Ice Skating
March - Spring Break Trips, Holi Celebration
April - Spend Easter with an American Family
May - Eid Celebration
June - Summer Trips
July - Spend July 4th with an American Family
August - Welcome Party, airport pickup/short-term housing, Indian Independence Day Celebration
September - Spend Labor Day with an American Family
October - Diwali Celebration, Pumpkin Carving
November - Spend Thanksgiving with an American Family
December - Spend Christmas with an American Family, Vision Conference
List of Questions
- Who is IFI and how can I get involved?
- Why are many of IFI's activities free? How does IFI make money?
- Does IFI work with the University's International Student Offices?
- Should I pay or tip IFI volunteers who pick me up from the airport?
- Do I have to be a Christian to join IFI activities?
- What kinds of yearly activities does IFI offer?