The International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP) is held each August, just prior to New Student Orientation (NSO). New international (non-immigrant) students and language assistants are required to attend. (US students who are living abroad are also invited.) Fall 2017 participants arrive on Sunday, August 13, and move into their fall housing assignment to attend IPOP on August 14–18.

IPOP helps prepare participants for a successful transition to life and learning at Grinnell. Students learn about a variety of important regulatory issues that impact their stay, meet their IPOP Mentor, their FIS Community Host, get to know Grinnell staff and faculty, and have a great time with new classmates. The program includes campus and community tours, shopping for items that don't 'pack well', and time to open a bank account.

Following IPOP, all new students (international and domestic) participate in NSO—which includes tutorial meetings, language placement tests, computer workshops, course registration, etc. This is a great time to become acquainted with one's academic adviser, hall/roommate(s) and Residence Life Coordinator (RLC).

2017 IPOP Mentors

Nandita Banik ‘20 is a Bangladeshi citizen who grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended Ekamai International School. At Grinnell she is majoring in Psychology and Economics. She speaks Bangla, English, Thai, and Hindi, and her hobbies include dancing, debate, theatre, writing, and music. She enjoys her FIS host family because they help her feel at home here. The quote that she’d like to share with you is, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein. If someone gave Nandita $1,000,000, she would “buy a thousand pair of earrings! (just kidding) I would use it for graduate school.”

Karin Cho ‘20 is from Osaka, Japan and she attended school in Shanghai, China. She is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, and English, and is studying German. Her favorite places are Okinawa & Hokkaido, Japan; Singapore; Malaysia; and Hawaii. Karin loves to cook, eat, and to read and talk about food! She likes to discover Dining Hall Hacks, enjoys baking for Shabbat Table, attends College plays and movies at the Strand, and volunteers at the College Pre-School. A favorite quote is “If you fall, don’t just get up and keep walking. Find out why you fell first, and then make adjustments as necessary.” If someone offers her $1,000,000, Karin would invest in new antibiotics, offer scholarships for student research, open some new restaurants in Grinnell, and build better kitchens in the residence halls.

Mitsuki Fujio ‘19 is from Tokyo, Japan. He attended high school at Eiko Gakuen in Kamakura. He plans to major in Sociology and Computer Science. In addition to his native language, Japanese, he speaks English and French. His favorite city is San Francisco, California. He has enjoyed getting to know his host family, and he is currently taking voice lessons from his host dad. A favorite quote of his comes from the movie Into the Wild: “Happiness [is] only real when shared.” If someone offers him $1,000,000, Mitsuki would ask for more money!

Aleksandar ‘Aleks’ Hrusanov ’18 is from Burgas, Bulgaria. He majors in Computer Science and Math. Favorite places include Italy and Portugal, and he spent spring 2017 in Budapest. Aleks is an adventurer. He loves concerts, travel, beaches, camping, and hiking. At Grinnell he likes that anyone can do their own thing and share it with friends, “There are always cool clubs! I’ve done football, foosball, ping pong, cinema, drawing, chess, KDIC radio station, and more.” His favorite quote is: "Not all who wander are lost," from J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. If Aleks had $1,000,000, he would “build a mountain hut for hikers to sleep, hang out, and have a meal before their next destination. Or, I’d buy land on a beach and just keep it the way it is - no hotels or night clubs - only sand, water, campfires, and tents. I’d travel the world and see my favorite bands live! I want to meet new people, experience new cultures, learn how to surf and snowboard... one can dream!”  

Lica Ishida ‘18 is from Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the U.S. in the Pacific Ocean. She attended secondary school at Saipan Southern High. Lica speaks English, Japanese, and a little German and Korean, and studied abroad in Vienna last spring. Saipan is her favorite place that she’s ever been, “it's my tropical island home and it will always be my favorite place on earth.” She likes to play the piano, create arts and crafts, read; and enjoy time with friends. She likes to spend time with her FIS host because they bake cookies, muffins, and cake together. She spent Thanksgiving with them, and she goes to their house on the weekends to play games or eat a nice meal. A favorite quote is: “You are amazing, You are brave, You are strong!” If someone offers Lica $1,000,000, she will buy a grand piano and a personal library... and give the rest to the AmeriCorps foundation or some other educational program.  

Sofia Kutceva is from Saint Petersburg, Russia. She attended Smolny College and studied Human Communications. Sofia is starting her second year as the Russian Language Assistant at Grinnell. She also speaks English and Polish. Her favorite place is Budapest, and she loves to travel, use film photography, and study art and literature. A favorite quote is: “’You boys going to get somewhere, or just going?’ We didn’t understand his question, and it was a damned good question!” from On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. If someone offers her $1,000,000, she will open a hostel in some beautiful place in southern Russia, and start a new tradition – “to get together every other year with all of the international friends I’ve met in Grinnell – to be able to see them again and share time and friendship.” 

Ga Hyun ‘Michelle’ Lee ‘19 was born in Daegu, South Korea, and she lived for 11 years in Shanghai, China, attending secondary school at Shanghai American School. She majors in Biology; speaks Korean, English, and Mandarin; and her favorite place in the world is Seoul. She loves movies and Korean TV, as well as chatting with friends. Michelle’s host family cares a lot about her “I visited the international market in Des Moines with my host mom, and she remembered what I bought there – and she still sends them to me as surprise care packages!” Her favorite quote is: 苦盡甘來 (Korean/Chinese idiom): “bitterness finishes, sweetness begins.” “When the hard times are over, the good times begin.” or “all suffering has its reward.” If someone offers her $1,000,000, she will use it for her parent's life after retirement, and then her tuition, and then she will offer the rest to support scientific research.  

Vincent Noh ‘19 is from Toronto, Canada, and attended secondary school at Fieldstone King's College School. He intends to major in Mathematics. He is fluent in English and Canadian.  A favorite place that he’s traveled to is Berlin, Germany. He plays Ultimate Frisbee, loves to dance, and is intrigued by Data Science. His host family is pretty crazy about their team – the U of Iowa Hawkeyes. His favorite quote is from Walt Whitman: “When I heard the learn'd astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.”  If someone offers Vincent $1,000,000, he is going to buy a million tornados at Kum & Go!

Elvira Nurmukhamedova ‘19 is from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and she attended secondary school at School #300, in Sergeli. At Grinnell she majors in Chemistry and Studio Art, and she plans to pursue a career in Chemical Engineering. She is fluent in Russian and English, and she’s traveled in Russia and Kazakhstan (as well as visiting Florida, Georgia, and Illinois).  Elvira loves Asian food, and she enjoys video games, anime, (especially Attack on Titan, 91 Days, and Tokyo Ghoul), dancing, and drawing. She is a grader for the Russian department, and works in the Bookstore and Harris. Her favorite quote is: “Its better regret of doing something, than regret of doing nothing.”  If someone gave Elvira $1,000,000, she would send it home to her parents.

Kirtimay Pendse ‘19 is from Gurgaon, India, and attended Pathways School. He majors in Economics, with a Global Studies concentration. He speaks English, Hindi, Spanish, and German, and his favorite places are Geneva, Switzerland; Udaipur and Dharamsala, India; Freiburg, Germany, and Boulder, Colorado. He likes to swim, play basketball, read, watch Netflix, and nap. He works at the JRC Info Desk and Phonathon. He is active in the South Asian Student Organization, Pioneer Capital Investments, and the Student Alumni Council. His favorite quote is “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Dory, Finding Nemo. If someone gives Kirti $1,000,000 he’ll keep $600,000 for his house, car, and children; invest $200,000 in stocks and equities; and donate $200,000 to charity.

Saung Thuya ‘19 is from Yangon, Myanmar, and he attended the Pre-Collegiate Program in Yangon before coming to Grinnell. He majors in Computer Science. He’s fluent in Burmese and English, and studied Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Saung loves to sing, play guitar, travel, and compose music. His host family helps him feel welcome here! His favorite quote is: “I don’t want to be a person with full hands, resting from dreams, but a person full of dreams unable to rest his hands,” Tablo. If someone gives Saung $1,000,000, he’ll invest in startups that will make a positive impact on the world.