International Students

The purpose of this article is to share information about how you can be a part of ministry to international students who study in the United States.

Yes, YOU can be a missionary to international students!

There are many ways that you can reach out to international students who are studying at a college near your home.

The purpose of this article is to share information about how you can be a part of ministry to international students who study in the United States.Perhaps you’ve clicked over here after reading my guest post at entitled “The World at Our Doorstep.” If you’ve not read that yet, I encourage you to do so. It is a prerequisite to what is shared here.

Regardless of how you got here, you’re reading this topic because you have an interest in international students. You would like to meet an international student, but you don’t know how to go about it. You can begin by trying one of the following ideas:

~~Find out what might already be going on in the missions department of your own church or denomination. Your denomination might have a local missions office that is cooperating with the international student office of a nearby college.

~~If you don’t learn anything by going that route, then call the college. The university will have a staff person with the title of Director of International Students or something similar. Ask if there is anything on the calendar to which the public is invited.

Through either of the above sources, you might find the following types of opportunities and events.

~~An annual international festival at your local college to which the public is invited. Almost every college with international students will host an international student festival at some time during the year. Students will prepare and serve their native food, wear their country’s costumes, and provide some exhibits, pictures, or videos. There is often a talent show where students perform music and dancing from their countries. This is always a highlight of the year for students, and you will be very welcome. It’s not a venue for getting to know any students in depth, but it would be a great introductory activity that will provide the opportunity to learn something about the variety of countries and cultures at your local college or university.

~~Sunday night after-church supper. Some college cafeterias serve meals every meal of the week except Sunday night. Whether or not this is the reason or the case, local churches sometimes provide a free meal for internationals one night a week, usually Sunday night. Find out if this type of activity is going on anywhere in your area and ask if volunteers are needed to help prepare, serve, and clean up or ask if you can just visit.

~~Opportunities to help students with conversational English. Most students are attracted to opportunities to have conversations with “real Americans” other than the check-out person at Walmart. Through one of the local churches, our campus has a get-together called Conversation Cafe every Thursday night in the student center on campus. There is coffee and tea and usually cookies, but the main fare is conversational English! At our Conversation Cafe, there is always a need for more people from the community, and that is probably the case in your area as well.

Attend a group activity in your local area, and within a few weeks, I predict that you will meet at least one or two students who touch your heart and want your friendship. At that point, the Lord will lead you in the next step. Begin slowly, but do begin. The students might feel more comfortable staying “on their own turf” at first. Ask if you can meet them for coffee or tea somewhere on campus or near their place of residence. Exchange phone numbers and email. Follow up right away with an email or a text message.

If you don’t find an opportunity by pursuing the above sources, don’t give up. Go to ISI stands for International Students Inc. Since 1953, ISI has been training Americans to meet international students’ needs. This web site can help you do exactly that. On the ISI site, click on the ISI “Resources” tab to download free materials.

I hope that this information will lead you to your God-planned foreign missions ministry near your home. I am praying for you. Please let me know how it goes!

Find more help here: How to Begin a Conversation with an International Student


The purpose of this article is to share information about how you can be a part of ministry to international students who study in the United States.

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