Befriend and serve international students with IFI!
IFI's volunteer application process consists of four parts: 1) Application, 2) References, 3) Training, and 4) Background Check. All four steps must be completed in order to volunteer with IFI, unless you will not be directly interacting with students. All new volunteers are recommended to start by filling out the New Volunteer Application, linked below, which will guide you through the remaining three steps.
If you have any difficulties or questions, please contact Nathan Wylder at or (614) 294-2434.
(References sent automatically once application is submitted)
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Frequently Asked Questions about the Volunteer Application Process
- Why does IFI ask for references?
We wish we didn’t have to, but we have found that this is wise. Some very godly and good-hearted people are just not cut out for the “peculiarities” of working with international students. Among other concerns, we want to be certain that our volunteers have time for this work, that their spouses are happy with their involvement, and that we will not be putting any undue stress on a volunteer who is struggling with other issues.
- Why does IFI require a Background Check?
In 2011 the Ohio State University asked us to have our volunteers undergo a background check. In order to keep the doors of ministry open we decided to require it of all volunteers who have direct contact with students in their home or one-on-one outside of their home. The only exceptions are made for OSU students or staff since OSU has already required they do a background check.
- Why do I need to attend the New Volunteer Training?
We require all new volunteers to be equipped to serve international students and to understand all of the services that IFI makes available to the students. Since each volunteer is an important part of the ministry and represents IFI to the students, volunteers need to understand and be in agreement with our ministry focus and philosophy.
- My mom knows me the best of all. Can she be my reference? How about the pastor, who is my cousin?
I’m sure your mom would be your greatest fan, but sorry, we need an unbiased opinion! No close relatives or spouses, please. As for the pastor who is also your cousin, this is a stretch, but we would allow it if you have given them permission to be honest! If you know your church’s Local Church Representative (an IFI volunteer) well, he or she would make a good reference.
- How will IFI protect my social security and other personal information?
With the identity theft that is going on today, we certainly need to be careful whom we give our information to. That is why IFI is committed to keeping your data private and secure, so we have partnered with Protect My Ministry. This organization is also utilized by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod, the Church of the Nazarene to name a few. They are a reputable background checking organization, and will be keeping all of the data secure. You may learn more about them here: protectmyministry.com.
- Why doesn’t IFI ask for references for the students? How do we know we aren’t being linked up with a trouble-maker?
We have no way of screening students, and if the university did, it wouldn’t give us any information. So, we don’t know that you won’t be hosting or meeting with a trouble-maker. We have to trust the Lord about this – that’s the bottom line. However, please CALL IFI’s emergency number (614-975-5686, emergencies only) immediately if your student is doing or saying anything that makes you uncomfortable.
- What if something shows up on my Background check?
We consider each situation on a case by case basis. We will look at the whole picture and take into consideration that the situation occurred prior to you being a Christian. We will not be sharing the results of this with anyone at OSU or anywhere else.
- Can I send you the results of a Background check I have already had for work or other organization?
We will not accept background checks or copies of background checks from other organizations.
- How long is the New Volunteer Training?
The training is 2 hours long. It is also available online and can be completed at your own pace.
- When and where is the next training?
For dates and locations, visit our web site at ifipartners.org/training, or contact Leila Gardner at 614-294-2434, or .
- What is covered in the training?
The first part is an introduction to international student ministry and IFI’s history, values, goals, and volunteer opportunities. The second part includes cultural awareness, cross-cultural friendships and communication, hospitality, and sharing your faith cross-culturally. You also have access to a Resource Manual for future use.