Welcome to Grand Rapids, Michigan! Moving to a new place is an exciting adventure, full of possibilities! We are eager to warmly welcome you and come alongside of you as you adjust to life in Grand Rapids. We offer many services and activities to promote friendship and provide opportunity for you to meet Americans and other internationals, practice your English, travel the U.S., share holiday meals, and explore the Bible in weekly small groups. Students, visiting scholars, and spouses of all nationalities and religions may participate. Families are always welcome.
Please take advantage of these special activities and services for newly arriving students and scholars.
Airport Pick-Up & Temporary Housing
We are happy to help you get settled into life in Michigan. We offer an alternative option to taking a taxi or the university organized transport from the airport. A friendly volunteer from International Friendships can welcome you at the airport no matter the time of your arrival, assist you with your luggage, and provide transportation to campus, your apartment, or your host home. Our volunteers can also provide up to four days of temporary housing. Staying with a host will give you opportunity to make a new friend, learn more about Grand Rapids from a local resident, enjoy a home cooked meal, and receive assistance during your first few days in a new place.
On Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 3:30pm IFI will welcome 400 new international students by hosting a Welcome Picnic. This event includes conversation, outdoor games, and American picnic food. Come and meet other new International students, as well as some American hosts. Rides are available. Sign up required to attend.
Welcome Party On Monday, August 21, 2017 at 6:30pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Ohio Union IFI will welcome 1,000 new internationals by hosting the International Student Welcome Party. This event includes conversation, games, and line dancing. Light refreshments will be provided. Come and meet other new International students, as well as some American hosts. Sign up required to attend.
August 25-27 If you did not have the opportunity to stay with an IFI host prior to classes starting, here is your chance! Spend a weekend away from campus in a home setting and develop new friendships. Homestay experiences vary. Our hosts are ethnically diverse and live in a variety of neighborhoods. Some host homes are only a few miles from campus, while others will be as far away as 60 miles from Columbus. Your host might be single or a married couple with children. After registering, IFI will match you with a host. Your host will contact you a few days prior to your weekend homestay to make arrangements to pick you up on Friday evening and bring you back home on Sunday. Hosts are limited. Registration will begin August 1, 2017.