Setting the Table for International Students

‘What if every student reading this befriended one international student?’

More than 5 million students study abroad each year. Experts predict this number will keep growing for years to come.

So when you walk around your campus, who do you see? A friend? A stranger?

Do you see the image of God reflected in students from every nation, every tribe, and every tongue?

In a world filled with conflict and tension, God extends his radical hospitality and love toward all people. What if your international classmates could experience that hospitality through you?

What if Christ could use you to make himself known to all people, right here, right now, and right from your very own campus?


Sobremesa is an initiative to promote friendships with international students on our campuses. 

Sobremesa, which means “over the table,” describes the Spanish tradition of relaxing around the table after a satisfying meal to enjoy the sweetness of dessert and good company. It describes a time and space where we can lay our defenses down to simply enjoy one another’s presence and develop the deep relationships we all hunger for. It means taking time, unrushed and uninterrupted, to share jokes, stories, and life together. 

The goal of IFES Sobremesa is to fill our table with people from every walk of life and foster the intimate friendships that are built around the table. We want to taste the sweetness of His love through stories that bring joy and laughter. We want to taste the goodness of His grace through conversations that go deep and move our hearts.

We want to sit at a table where people from every nation, every tribe, and every tongue are welcomed in the name of Jesus; a table that is made whole in its diversity; and a table that reflects the loving character of God. 

The road to realise this vision is simple: as simple as a friendship, as simple as a meal. What if every student reading this befriended one international student?

Read on for inspiration and resources to encourage you in this very simple and powerful form of international student ministry.

  • Vision

    Why are we are called to love our international classmates?

  • Get Equipped

    How can we love and serve our international friends?

  • Be Inspired

    Explore stories of how God is working among international students today.