All of the opportunities require that you complete a new volunteer application unless otherwise noted. If the activity requires you to have contact directly with students, we provide an informative one-time New Volunteer Orientation and Cross-cultural training. If no training is required, it is noted below.
Airport Pickup: Be the first welcoming face a newly arriving international student sees when he/she arrives in Columbus. Transport them either to campus or a temporary housing home. Here is a list of new students who may need airport pickup. To assist, please contact Nathan.
Building Maintenance and Improvement: needs include cleaning, painting, and remodeling as new office staff are added. Help is also needed to be on call to move furniture when donated or when students move. No training is required. Please contact Karen for more information or if you have questions.
Bible Study Leader / Helper: Visit our Friday night Bible study and consider becoming involved in a small group, building friendships with international students and sharing your faith. What is the International-American Fellowship? These small-group fellowships are part of a larger ministry seeking to meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of international students and scholars or their families, in the context of genuine love and hospitality. These small groups meet regularly to study the Bible together; they also provide leadership training for international Christians. It is our goal to have internationals lead in as many aspects of the group as they are willing and able. Our small groups are structured to help Christian international students grow in their faith, and help non-Christians understand God’s plan of salvation. Bible Study Leader or Helper International-American Fellowship Information Sheet (PDF)
Children's Ministry: special programming for children nursery and older during our Friday night Bible study. Volunteers are needed to assist with the children. For many of the international parents, their effective participation in a Bible study depends on having adequate care for their children. In addition, children living in a second culture often have a special need for acceptance and affirmation. Many are eager to learn more about the Bible and Jesus. Your help in this area serves both parents and children. In addition, you enable more American volunteers to serve in Bible study leadership because they are able to leave their children in your care. Children’s Ministry Information Sheet (PDF)
English Conversation Partners: Meet with one international student for 1 hour each week simply practicing conversation, and building a friendship as well! Now available in a 6-week trial version for first-time volunteers!
ESL Teacher or Assistant: Assist or teach at IFI’s English as a Second Language classes on consecutive Saturdays during the school year. Assistants need not be experts in ESL – just willing helpers with a decent knowledge of English. International students are helped with both English listening and conversational skills by being a part of weekly ESL (English as a Second Language) class. Volunteers who are native English speakers and have a desire to help others understand spoken and idiomatic English are needed to serve as teachers and teachers’ assistants in these classes.
Food for Potlucks & Picnics: Use your kitchen skills to assist with food for our fall welcome potluck, ice cream social, or quarterly potlucks. Sign up, and we will call you as needs arise. You may postpone training if your only activity is bringing food. However, if you meet and plan to continue relating to students, we ask that you complete the application and training process. What is a Culinary Missionary? A culinary missionary is someone who serves international students and the IFI ministry team by assisting with the set-up, food provision, and clean-up of our quarterly potluck/picnics or prepares a meal for a Friday night Bible study. As groups come and provide and/or serving food this enables our ministry team to focus on leading discussions and building relationships with the students in their groups. It is also a great way to help others in your church or small group catch the vision of international student ministry. No application is required if with someone who is already an IFI volunteer. For more information about involving your small group. Culinary Missionary (Small Groups) Information Sheet (PDF)
Friendship Partner: Individuals and families meet with an international student once a month for a meal or other activity. Invite then to join you in an activity you are already doing or plan something special to do together.
Fundraising Events: Volunteer to help with one of IFI’s fundraising events. These events include IFI’s Ride for the Nations and the annual Fellowship Dinner. You can help with planning, set up/clean up, registration, publicity, and more. Training is not required to participate in fundraising events. For more information, contact Jason.
Furniture Sales: This popular service is offered to students on one Saturday in August. Help by hosting an IFI Sale at your home or chuch, drive students to designated IFI Furniture Sales, be on the delivery team, or work in the office taking phone calls from volunteers. No training is required to host a sale or help in the office. You must be an approved trained volunteer to drive students or deliver furniture.
Holiday Hosting - Christmas Host: Share the warmth of your Christmas table, and you may have an opportunity to share the Christmas story with an international student. Transportation to and from campus is usually needed. You will be given names of students to contact. In most cases, transportation to and from OSU campus will be needed. How do I sign up? If you are a new volunteer, please complete an application well ahead of the holiday. Sometimes it takes a while to reach your references, and we don’t want you to be disappointed! If you are a veteran volunteer, just call and let us know how many students you would like!
Holiday Hosting - Thanksgiving Host: Invite 1 or more students to join your Thanksgiving celebration and share your family’s joy and Christian hospitality. You will be given names of students to contact. In most cases, transportation to and from OSU campus will be needed. How do I sign up? If you are a new volunteer, please complete an application well ahead of the holiday. Sometimes it takes a while to reach your references, and we don’t want you to be disappointed! If you are a veteran volunteer, just call and let us know how many students you would like!
Housing (Short-Term or Long-Term): Welcome an international student into your home for up to 4 days upon their initial arrival to Columbus while they look for more permanent housing. It would be considered long-term after 5 days and up to a month. Predominantly needed in August and September. Usually, you will also be responsible for airport pickup. Transportation to and from campus certain days is necessary. For long-term housing, you may offer a room in your home to a student for a quarter or longer. You may offer this free of charge or ask for a rental payment. Here is a list of new students who may need airport pickup and temporary housing. To assist, please contact Nathan.
International Mothers Groups (IMG): Befriend an international mom twice a month at our Monday morning group which meets at the Old Buckeye Village Recreation Center on Defiance Drive. Also help with children, Bible study, English conversation, or crafts. What is the International Moms Group? The International Moms Group (IMG) is an outreach to international moms and their young children. We provide opportunities for the moms to study the Bible and have English conversation. We assist the moms with their adjustment and caring for their families in a new culture. Other activities are planned such as crafts, potlucks, and field trips. There are different areas in which you can become involved.
The MMT (Muslim Ministry Team) is a group of followers of Jesus who want to befriend Muslim international students. Our objective is to encourage, provide guidance, and give opportunities to IFI volunteers who wish to connect with Muslim international students.
Office Volunteer - Clerical: Help is needed to answer phones, enter data into the computer, help with mailings, etc. Come weekly, monthly, or for a specific task - we can work with you for the perfect fit! You will receive "on the job instruction." The IFI staff cannot perform their responsibilities fully without the support of office volunteers. This is a wonderful opportunity to help serve international students. (Application only no training needed.) Office Volunteer Information Sheet (PDF)
Other: Do you have a special skill or interest, or something you would be willing to help an international student with? Let us know! Application and training requirement depends on the opportunity. Please contact email@example.com for more information or if you have questions.
Professional Mentoring Partner: International students frequently come to the United States with their career plans in mind. However, few will get the opportunity to interact with Americans who already have experience in their chosen professional fields. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve a student in an area of felt need and to develop a friendship with someone from another culture. Professional Mentoring Partner Information Sheet (PDF)
Public Relations: Help promote IFI needs at your church through bulletin inserts, display tables, or possibly through a presentation in a small group or during church service. Also possible participation with IFI fund raisers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have questions.
Small Group Missions and Outreach Opportunities - Your small group can work together to help “reach the world” by serving international students from all over the world studying right here in Columbus. No training or application is required if someone in your group is already an IFI volunteer.
Tour of Columbus: Once a year in the fall, IFI volunteers take new international students, scholars, and their families on a tour of the sites that make Columbus special. Help introduce students to their new home. This initiative is currently on hold.
Trip Ministry: Travel as a member of the leadership team on one of our ministry trips. Help drive, share your life and faith with the students traveling with you - a short term mission trip! What is a Trip Volunteer? A trip volunteer assists an International Friendships Inc. staff person and/or Trip Coordinator. IFI offers international students trips that may be day, overnight, or week-long trips. The role of Trip Volunteer is that of friendship and conversation with students, and in some cases you may be needed to drive a van. Our trips can best be described as a short-term mission trip. Although you will not be leaving the U.S. in most cases (unless we cross over to Niagara Falls, Canada), your role will be that of a cross-cultural missionary as you interact with the students. Trip Volunteer Information Sheet (PDF)
Welcome Care Team: This is a fun and easy way to get involved with IFI even if you are not an IFI volunteer. The Welcome Care Team's goal is to provide an informative and personal interaction with every new student who signs up for airport pickup and temporary housing. Participants will interact with 5-7 students by email to tell them a little about IFI, answer questions they may have about life in Columbus and get them connected with the kinds of services they will need when they arrive. This is a perfect initiative for a small group or those who just want to get a better understanding of what IFI is all about. For more information about this exciting new opportunity, sign up here.