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 US 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.
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 US American volunteers can participate. Families are always welcome.
How can International Friendships help you?
Social: International Friendships provides opportunities for you to meet US Americans who will open their homes and hearts to you. They can help you practice English. They will be glad to learn about you and your country as they help you learn more about USA.
Cultural: Throughout the year, International Friendships takes groups to local places of interest. Special activities may be planned during holidays.
Spiritual: Small groups meet weekly to talk about life and/or discuss Bible topics. Visits to local churches can also be arranged.
Help: When you first arrive, volunteers are available to pick you up at the airport. We are here to help you settle in and answer any questions you may have about life in USA. We want you to feel at home in Urbana, OH.
Phil & Janet Shetler, Campus Staff
Phil was born and raised on a farm in Iowa and Janet grew up in Pennsylvania. We both studied at Rosedale Bible College in Irwin, Ohio where we met. Phil worked at the college for 10 years; then as a CNC Machinist at Honeywell International in Urbana, Ohio for 28 years. Janet worked for the Postal Service for 35 years. We have been interacting with internationals since 2007.
We were married in 1969 and had four daughters. Besides volunteering for IFI Urbana University, we also volunteer at the local Thrift Store. Our international travels include Costa Rica, Kenya, Israel and Australia.
As coordinators for Urbana University, we interact with the OIS (Office of International Studies) office at the University. We match volunteers with international students, train volunteers, plan events for the internationals, coordinate airport pick-ups and host a Friday night Bible Study in our home.