Before beginning any new project it is essential to have some basic information about the context in which you work.

Questions you should consider include the following:

1.     Who are the international students?

  • What institutions of higher education are there in your location? (Use their websites to find out statistics, courses and academic calendars)

  • What are they studying? At what level?

  • Where are they from? And are there large numbers of one particular ethnic group?

  • How long will they be here?

  • How old/mature are they?

  • What’s their financial situation/

  • Where is their accommodation?

  • What are their needs?

2.     What provision does the university make for these students?

Sometimes it is more productive to offer your services to help with activities already arranged than to start your own.

3.     What other Christian ministry among international students is happening?

Can you do something which complements what they are doing rather than competing? Are there things you can do together?

Find out if your IFES movement already has work among international students happening here.

 4.     Which Christians do you know or can you identify who have natural connections with institutions where students are living and/or studying?

5.     Which churches in your area are well placed to get involved? Which of them has a heart for evangelism and mission?

One of the best things you can do is find out if the University has an International office, or if they publish statistics. This will be the most up-to date and helpful information for you.

If you want a bigger picture to help recruit your team and cast vision why not check out this website from UNESCO.  Where do students go to study? It helps you visualise the global movement of students. Pick your country and see where the international students come from.

Or if you want to understand the culture of your international students, this map from can help. Are they from an honour/shame culture or guilt/fear? That will impact the way you communicate with them.