Our Founder’s Story
Rewind three summers ago…
It was a gorgeous day in June and I was waiting anxiously at the Atlanta airport. Finally, Elise Flori walked out of customs with a group of French exchange students. I can still remember the awkward introductions and the ride back to my house. Three weeks later we knew everything about each other and I didn’t want her to leave!
The following summer I went to visit her in France. It was the most AMAZING three weeks of my life. I will never forget standing under the Eiffle Tower and tasting the infamous “Sainte-Nectaire” cheese that is illegal to bring back to America. The experience changed my life and I was challenged to open my eyes to a culture so different from my own.
On September 4th, 2011 I embarked on a service-based gap year after high school. I started in India volunteering with Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity and volunteering in a rural village school. There is not a word in the dictionary to describe the impression India left on me; I grew so much from the experience and know that my time there made me a better person.
I started the IFF because I believe that every student should have opportunities like I’ve had. It is an experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom. I only pray that students who benefit from the work of the IFF will also have the chance to build international connections like I have. Thank you for your support!