“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don't take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own.” - Leviticus 19:33-34
One of the biggest felt needs of international students, scholars, and their families is to practice conversational English. IFI provides volunteers the opportunity to develop friendships with internationals by volunteering to be an English conversation partner (ECP). Through IFI’s ECP ministry, many students have been exposed to Christians for the first time. By volunteering, you can help meet students’ needs and begin to build relationships that can provide a platform for sharing the gospel.
There is no set curriculum; you can meet for coffee, go for ice cream, take a walk at the park, and more. It’s normally best to meet your partner near campus on “neutral” territory. Once your friendship develops further, you can invite them to your home or meet at their house. We can also provide a list of suggested activities and conversation topics. >> English Conversation Partner Information Sheet (PDF)
International students can often be very lonely in the U.S. They also desire to learn about
American culture and get oriented to their new surroundings in Columbus. As an IFI friendship partner, you can help an international student adjust to American life and be their friend. Though the student will benefit by practicing their conversational English with you, unlike being an English conversation partner, this is not the primary focus of the friendship partner program.
You will be matched with a student along the same parameters as the English conversation partner program detailed above. The commitment is a little less than being an English conversation partner; we ask that you commit to meeting with your partner two hours per month for at least six months.
Friendship partners invite their student to dinner at their home, take them to ball games, celebrate holidays together, take their student shopping, and more. We’re always happy to provide activity suggestions.
If you’d like to be a friendship partner with an international student, contact Nathan.