My first stay in Europe in 2013 was such a frightening experience. I had many questions in mind on how my religious life can survive and be well practiced within an unfamiliar environment that is largely not committed to Christian belief. More again, IFES is a door to make new friends. Here, I expressly mean making real friends, not pretending friendship. Through IFES, I met interesting people who I can count on even in difficult times, people who carry me in their devoted prayers and ensure their continuous support. I have always felt welcome in their families. In IFES, the Jesus golden rule “love each other” is true-life. The other point I underline here is that IFES gave me a feeling of confidence. I am no longer trapped in loneliness. All along each month, if not, each semester, there are IFES activities which are either church services-oriented or social gatherings. Now, IFES is my family, is my community. I mostly like it, appreciate it and even more, value what are its mission and objectives.
A. M. Valentin, a PhD Candidate in Netherlands.
International student ministry has made me realise that though we are all from different nationalities, we are one and have one Father [God] and it has given me the opportunity to listen and to meet with other people, share in their story and they in mine as well. Thank you!
E from Cyprus
HOST (IFES ISM group) has truly been a home away from home for me over the last few years. When I think of Host I think of a place where people love me for exactly who I am and a place where people open my eyes to new things about the world and challenge me to continue growing in all aspects of my life, especially in my faith!
A US student studying in the Netherlands
For me HOST (IFES ISM group) is a living symbol of hospitality in a foreign culture, of friendship in times of loneliness, of relief in times of despair, of acceptance instead of performance, of love instead of success, of serving others instead of self-centeredness... and all this along a fun and entertaining journey!
An Indian PhD student in The Netherlands
I would say that the one major highlight was the first two weeks I spent in Slovenia. I was absolutely ignorant about this country, its history, its language, its culture and so on. I didn’t know what to expect. Upon my arrival I started to learn and discover this country which is both so European and so alien. I didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this awesome country.One particular struggle was to live as a Christian student in an Erasmus setting which is often all about party, alcohol and sex. As a result I never got totally integrated in the Erasmus community (I didn’t really wanted to) and yet I was marked as a “foreign student” which made it hard for me to mingle with Slovene students.
My year in Slovenia was definitely an important season of my life and it did affect my relationship with God in a significant way. I’d say that the major lesson I learned was dependence. I was recently converted when I arrived in Slovenia and I learned what it meant to start everything from scratch in a new country. To adapt to a new culture, to make new friends, to find a new church, to study in a different language, everything was very new and at times pretty confusing. Through all this I learned to trust in God first, to make the daily decision to submit to him and to trust in His power and in His plans (which are always way better than mine).
Benjamin, a French ERASMUS student in Slovenia in 2011-2012