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 a 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 short-term mission trips. Although in most cases you will not be leaving the U.S. (unless we cross over to Niagara Falls, Canada), your role will be that of a cross-cultural missionary as you interact with the students.
1. WHERE DOES IFI TAKE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WHEN THEY GO ON TRIPS?
We take students on trips to various locations that are of interest to them. In most cases volunteers and staff drive vans, in some cases a sleeper bus is used and airline travel is used for longer distances.
- Niagara Falls, NY
- Chicago, IL
- Out East (Boston, NewYork, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.)
- Out West
- Hocking Hills (OH)
- Red River Gorge (KY)
2. WHEN DOES IFI TAKE THESE TRIPS?
The trips are taken during the students’ breaks from classes. Typically we take students on the overnight trips that are further away during the Winter break (mid-December to early January), Spring break (mid-March) or Summer (early May to mid-August).
Day trips are almost always taken on Saturday. These trips go to such places as Amish Country, Hocking Hills, The Air Force Museum, etc. Help is almost always needed with driving for these trips.
3. WHAT IS THE COST OF THESE TRIPS?
The cost of the trips is usually low. On some trips, students stay in the homes of Christians or “camp out” at churches. Volunteers can stay in Christian homes if there are enough families that open up their homes, or volunteers can stay in a nearby hotel at their own expense. The cost of trips usually includes travel, accommodation, entrance fees, and most meals.
4. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO BE DOING DURING THESE TRIPS?
The format for the overnight trips usually includes help with driving, or sitting and talking with students when someone else is driving. Frequently students who take the trips have been in IFI Bible studies before, and may have questions about God and the Bible. There may be a group devotional in the morning that may prompt questions. Students may ask you to pray for or with them.
You should expect to visit some interesting places with international students and see things from their perspective. You should expect that students may not be as time-conscious as you are. The itinerary for the trip may go off of the planned schedule at times due to the number of people to coordinate, cultural differences, or miscommunication that may occur. If you take the posture that this is a short-term mission trip and give God your personal agenda and determine to be His servant regardless of whether your own desires are met, you will have a very rewarding and fruitful trip!
5. WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?
These trips are short-term cross-cultural mission experiences without leaving the United States! You must have a flexible schedule and be able to take time off work for the duration of the trip. You should have a servant heart and be flexible with regard to time. If you commit to helping in any way with a trip, it is very important that you keep that commitment. It is very difficult to find a substitute Trip Volunteer at the last minute. If we don’t have enough drivers, then it will mean that, at the last minute, students will have to be told they can’t go. This hurts our Christian witness.