A large group of people standing outside in a grey courtyard, smiling at the viewer

International Pre-Orientation Program [IPOP]

Welcome to Grinnell!

The information below is curated to help you plan your arrival in Grinnell on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2024, to participate in the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP) 2024!

What is IPOP?

IPOP is an action-packed week just prior to New Student Orientation.

New international students are required to attend IPOP. The schedule is focused on immigration regulations, cultural transitions, social connection, and academic success.

You will:

  • Complete important paperwork and apply for a U.S. Social Security number.
  • Be matched with an IPOP mentor — an upper-level student leader who is excited to support your arrival.
  • Meet new friends, learn your way around campus, and explore the local community.

The New Student Checklist and IPOP Registration

In early May, all new Grinnellians are invited to the New Student Checklist.

International students will also be prompted to complete IPOP Registration, which includes the opportunity to sign up for Friends of International Students (FIS). FIS is a fantastic (optional) program that can connect you with a host from the local community. Please respond promptly to the items in your New Student Checklist!

Please read below as you prepare for your journey. Feel free to contact OISA if you have questions.

Preparing for Your Fall 2024 Arrival

1. Complete your I-20 Request Form

  • For legal documents, please always present your full name exactly as it appears on your passport.
  • Canadian citizens do not need a visa, but you do need an I-20 and you must pay the SEVIS fee.

Once the Office of Admission receives your enrollment deposit, you will be invited to access Grinnell’s I-20 Request Form via your Applicant Status Portal.  Most international students seek an F-1 student visa, and you must secure an I-20 from your intended U.S. institution before you can submit a student visa application.

  • If you will seek F-1 status, you’ll be prompted to submit:
    • biographic data;
    • a scan of your passport; and
    • financial information to document your ability to cover your financial needs while enrolling at Grinnell. 
  • If you already hold F-1 status through a U.S. high school, please complete the I-20 Request Form and ask your current school to release your SEVIS record to Grinnell College [OMA214F00159000] on your graduation.
  • If you already hold a different visa status, our I-20 Request Form will offer alternate instructions. Feel free to contact the Office of International Student Affairs with related questions!

Complete your I-20 Request Form as early as possible to ensure a timely visa application. Your request will be reviewed by the Office of Admission and Financial Aid and then passed on to the OISA. This review can take 3-5 weeks. The OISA will issue I-20’s for new students on a rolling basis throughout the spring semester. You will receive your I-20 via an encrypted email from oisa@grinnell.edu, with additional instructions about next steps. You need to print all three pages, single-sided, and sign and date Page 1 in blue ink.

2. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and secure an F-1 visa appointment.

  • Your U.S. address will be: 1115 8th Avenue, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA 50112.
  • You may list your Grinnell contact as: Karen Edwards, International Student Affairs, 1226 Park Street, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; edwardsk@grinnell.edu; 641-269-3705.

You must submit a $350 I-901 SEVIS fee before you can schedule your visa appointment.

  • You will input data from your passport and I-20 (your SEVIS ID is located on the top left corner).
  • Please print and retain a paper copy of your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt to present during your visa interview and at the U.S. Port of Entry.
  • If you have questions about the SEVIS fee, please reference the FAQ or contact OISA.

Then complete the online Form DS-160 and schedule an F-1 visa appointment at your nearest U.S. consulate. Most students apply from their home country, but it can be possible (or necessary) to secure an appointment in a different location. The visa application fee is $185, and the specific process and the timeline can vary by country or consulate

Prepare for Your Visa Interview

Prepare for your visa interview by reviewing EducationUSA guidance. In addition, many in-country advising centers offer tips and/or pre-departure information sessions. Consular officers conduct a high number of interviews and many decisions are based on first impressions.

  • Prepare to explain why you chose Grinnell College.
  • Remember that F-1 status requires “nonimmigrant intent” — the consular officer must see:
    • that your stay in the U.S. will be temporary;
    • that you have strong ties to your home country; and that
    • you plan to return home to pursue your long term career goals;
  • The consular officer may also seek confirmation that you can finance your studies in the U.S. It is wise to carry the financial documents that you submitted to Grinnell via the I-20 Request Form.

Required documents for your visa interview include:

  • Passport (valid for 6+ months into the future) 
  • DS-160 Visa Application Confirmation
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Confirmation
  • Form I-20 (print all 3 pages and sign in blue ink)

We also recommend that you bring:

  • Financial documents (as submitted for your I-20 Request Form)
  • Grinnell College admission letter
  • OISA’s letter to the embassy
  • Secondary school completion documents

Officers may also review your social media. 

Please contact the OISA to update us on your progress securing a visa!

Initial entry of the U.S. using an F-1 student visa is limited to the 30-day window immediately prior to the start date on your new I-20. In other words, new F-1 Grinnellians are allowed to enter the U.S. between July 19 and Aug. 18, 2024.  

IPOP Arrival Day is on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2024

Need linens for your room?

Since the College’s mailroom is not open on Sundays, IPOP participants can order linen via Dorm Co before July 15 to ensure it is delivered directly to your room. Use the following information for your order:

  • Address: [Your Name], Grinnell College, 1115 8th Ave., Grinnell, Iowa 50112
  • Phone number: 641-269-3703

Late orders or shipments from a different company will be available for you to pick up in the mailroom during weekday hours.

Booking Your Flight

  • We strongly recommend that you fly through to the Des Moines International Airport.
    • Des Moines is located 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Grinnell — a one-hour drive from campus.
    • Grinnell College offers pre-scheduled transportation between campus and the Des Moines Airport.
  • If your flight ends in Cedar Rapids or Chicago, you will need to arrange your own transportation to campus.
    • The Cedar Rapids airport is one hour away or more  by car, with limited taxi options.
    • Chicago is five hours away by car and seven or more hours away by bus.
  • If you are booking a round-trip ticket, the Five-Year Academic (Planning) Calendar offers helpful information regarding the academic calendar and college housing dates.
    • Note that international students are also eligible to register via Housing and Residence Life to access winter break housing, if needed.

Reserving Transportation from Des Moines Airport to Grinnell

Grinnell’s Office of Facilities Management (FM) offers cost-effective airport shuttles to and from the Des Moines Airport.

On IPOP Arrival Day (Sunday, Aug. 18, 2024), FM will offer shuttles from Des Moines at:

  • 10 a.m.
  • 2 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.
  • 10 p.m.


  • If your flight lands in Des Moines on Aug. 18 before 10 p.m.: reserve a seat for the FM shuttle in advance using the Transportation website.
  • If your flight lands in Des Moines after 10 p.m. on Aug. 18: Register for the last shuttle of the day but indicate your anticipated arrival time and flight number. FM staff will try to assist you!
  • If you will arrive in Iowa before Aug. 18: You need to make arrangements for alternate lodging and/or transportation. One option is to book a hotel room in Des Moines and use the College Airport Shuttle on Aug. 18. Students often stay at the Ramada Inn, but other airport hotels can also be found online. 

Late arrivals (after Aug. 18) require advance permission from the OISA! A late entry can result in a denial at the U.S. Port of Entry. All new F-1 students are required to attend the full week of IPOP.

We also welcome your family to the Grinnell College community! They are invited to visit the webpage for families of admitted students as their go-to source for next steps, updates, and timelines for Grinnell.

While some students will travel to Iowa accompanied by a parent or family member, this is not necessary. Grinnell College is prepared to support the arrival of new international students who travel alone. If a parent or family friend will travel with you to campus, OISA staff would appreciate the chance to say hello during IPOP.

Parents or family and friends who come to campus during IPOP are invited to:

  • the IPOP welcome session at 1 p.m.
  • a Parent and Family Q&A at 2:30 p.m., and
  • an evening social from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

These activities will take place on Monday, Aug. 19.

Parent and Family Lodgings

Please make arrangements for parent and family lodging and transportation in advance of your arrival in the U.S.

If your parents will not have a car in Grinnell, you should book their lodging within walking distance of campus.

Also note:

  • There is not a local taxi service in Grinnell, nor is there a local car rental service.
  • Your parents can reserve a rental car via: Des Moines Airport ground transportation.
  • If your parents cannot drive in the U.S., you can request assistance for their airport transportation via the Aug. 18 Airport Shuttle link provided by Facilities Management. This service is only available for international parents, and it must be arranged in advance.
    Your parents may also hire a taxi, Lyft, or Uber from the airport in Des Moines — but these services are not available here in Grinnell.

IPOP Arrival Day is Sunday, Aug. 18, 2024!

Note: On arrival, students will receive a physical (and more detailed) copy of the following schedule. 

Sunday, Aug. 18

Check in at the Global Living Room (Humanities and Social Science Center, Room N1170) between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to pick up your Pioneer One-Card, room key, and IPOP packet. Grinnell’s airport shuttles disembark at the Rosenfield Center (JRC), and an IPOP mentor will meet the shuttle to help you find the HSSC. If your shuttle arrives after 7 p.m., an IPOP mentor will meet you to help you access your residence hall room and you can complete your SEVIS Registration on Monday morning.

F-1 students must present your passport and I-20. We will help you print your I-94 record and we will register your arrival in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must complete this task on Sunday between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or on Monday between 9 a.m. to noon. Your documents will be processed and returned to you in a grey passport sleeve.

Campus tours will be available for IPOP students and family members. Meet your tour guide at the HSSC Global Café.

  • Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m.

Local shopping shuttle vans will circulate between the Joe Rosenfield Center and Walmart.

  • Sunday, Aug. 18 from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 19 from 9 to 11 a.m.

The downtown shopping district is within walking distance. Grinnell College also runs a regular local shuttle and a Saturday metro shuttle to Des Moines or Iowa City.

Monday, Aug. 19

8 a.m.: Breakfast,  Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

9 a.m. to Noon: IPOP Check-In & SEVIS Registration, HSSC N1170 Global Living Room

Noon: Lunch, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

1 p.m.: Welcome event for students and family, HSSC A2231 2nd Floor Auditorium

2:15 p.m.: IPOP Group Photo, HSSC Kington Plaza

2:30 to 5 p.m.: HSSC Help Stations

  • Paycor onboarding & I-9 employment verification, HSSC N1112 & N1114
  • Sprintax Calculus profile, HSSC N1168
  • Q&A about U.S. bank accounts, HSSC A1211
  • Printing on campus, HSSC Atrium

6 p.m.: Dinner with your Amigos, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

7:30 p.m.: Chalk, Bubbles, & Soccer, Mac Field — Socialize with your classmates and the IPOP Mentors!

Tuesday, Aug. 20

Bring your immigration documents and electronic devices with you today!

8 a.m.: Breakfast, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

9 a.m.: YOU.S.A., HSSC A2231 2nd Floor Auditorium — Learn more about life in Grinnell, Iowa, U.S.A.!

10:30 a.m.: Campus walk-about and office visits, with your IPOP Mentors

Noon: Lunch, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

1 p.m.: F-1 Visa Regulations, HSSC A2231 2nd Floor Auditorium — For F-1 Students. Don't forget your immigration documents, filed in your grey passport sleeve!


1 p.m.: Global Nomad Breakout, HSSC Global Living Room — For those not impacted by F-1 visa regulations.

3:30 p.m.: Fluff & Stuff Squirrel Bash — Meet IPOP & PCPOP attendees while creating a stuffed squirrel!

6 p.m.: Dinner, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

7:30 p.m.: Evening activities: Sign up for an activity in the HSSC N1170 Global Living Room.

  • Street food in the Global Kitchen 
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Just Dance
  • Basketball
  • Pool and ping pong
  • GeoGuessr tournament
  • Board games
  • Movie at The Strand

8:45 p.m.: Star Gazing with Dr. Cadmus, Gale Observatory — Meet Kenji & Kana at the Bear Athletic Center to walk over.

Wednesday, Aug. 21

8 a.m.: Breakfast, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

9 a.m.: Academic Success panel, HSSC A2231 2nd Floor Auditorium 

10:30 a.m.: Faculty-led breakout sessions, HSSC A2231 2nd Floor Auditorium

Noon: Lunch, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

1 p.m.: More Culture, Less Shock! HSSC A1231 1st Floor Multipurpose Room — Learn more about cultural transition in theory and practice.

2:30 p.m.: Scavenger hunt in downtown Grinnell — Groups depart from the HSSC and report to the Central Park Shelter by 4:00.

6 p.m.: Dinner, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

7:30 p.m.: Friends of International Students Meet & Greet Dessert, Harris Concert Hall — Students who requested to participate in FIS will meet your community host(s)!

Thursday, Aug. 22

Bring your gift items with you today!

8 a.m.: Breakfast, Joe Rosenfield Center, Marketplace

9 a.m.: Meeting My Medical Needs, One Scenario at a Time, Harris Concert Hall

10:30 a.m.: Yan Koloba and IPOP Gift Exchange, Harris Concert Hall

Noon: Lunch, Harris Center Lobby

1 p.m.: IPOP Mentor Open Floor, HSSC A1231 1st Floor Multipurpose Room

7 p.m.: ALL-POP Picnic with IPOP, PCPOP, and GSP, Grinnell Golf Course, 933 13th Ave — Meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Joe Rosenfield Center (JRC) to walk with IPOP Mentors. 

After IPOP, you will participate in New Student Orientation (NSO). On Monday, Aug. 26, please attend Roommates Across Culture at 10 a.m. in the HSSC A1231 Multipurpose Room with your new roommate(s)! Fall classes begin on Aug. 29, 2024.

Students who cross borders to pursue higher education are wise to anticipate a learning curve — culture, language, visa status, and distance from home will impact your journey. We’ve included a few initial examples below in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. We look forward to helping to support you in this exciting journey. 


When and how will I choose my classes?
In June, you will need to submit your First-Year Tutorial preferences via the New Student Checklist.
Please read Academic Planning for New Students to learn about Grinnell’s educational philosophy, the role that your academic advisor will play, how you will choose your classes, and your agency as an undergraduate student scholar. 

Questions? Contact the Academic Advising office.
How much will my books cost?
The Academic Planning site provides valuable information about textbooks and course materials!
The Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell sells new and used textbooks and e-books. All students can access an optional Textbook Advance to spread payments throughout the semester.
The Center for Religious Spirituality and Social Justice (CRSSJ) coordinates a Lending Library for students with need-based eligibility.

Billing and Payments

What is the billing schedule and payment process?
Visit the Office of Student Accounts website to learn about the billing schedule, your student self-service portal, and/or how to submit international payments using Flywire or TransferMate.
You must clear your unpaid balance before you are allowed to register for classes. You should not travel to the U.S. without submitting your due balance for fall semester.
Questions or unique challenges in this regard? Contact the Office of Student Accounts.
Is it possible to increase my financial aid award?
International student tuition grants are offered on the basis of financial need at the point of initial admission to the College, only.
The Office of Financial Aid is committed to providing a consistent aid package that is renewed annually, with moderate increases to grant assistance as costs rise.
The maximum timeframe to receive aid is eight semesters.
Grinnell will not increase (or decrease) your award for changes to your family’s circumstances such as fluctuations in exchange rates or additional family members in college. No changes are made for loss of sponsorship. (U.S. citizens apply for financial aid based on CSS Profile and FAFSA guidelines.)

Questions? Contact Mary Phipps.

Cell Phones and Computers

Do I need a U.S. phone number?
Student rooms do not have landline telephones.
Most students secure a U.S. cell phone number and IPOP participants will receive a one-month complimentary pre-paid SIM Card via Mint Mobile on arrival. In addition, there are local stores for U.S. Cellular, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
Many phone plans require a U.S. Social Security Number, and you will apply for this during IPOP.
Upper-level students sometimes advise against using a phone from home with a U.S. SIM card due to poor service and higher fees.
Feel free to consult your IPOP mentor, too!
Do I need my own laptop computer?
There are public computer stations and public printers on campus, but most students do have their own laptop and this is definitely preferable to support your academic success.
There is free wireless on campus, and you will get free network storage space that is accessible from any campus computer.
Questions? Contact Information Technology Services (ITS).
Some students with very high financial need can access a “loaner laptop” from the College. Contact Financial Aid to confirm eligibility.

Disability Accommodations

How do I seek accommodations for a disability?
Student Disability Resources works with all students who may need support for access to academics, housing, dining, and facilities. You may reach out to Jae Baldree with any questions about how to access Student Disability Resources and accommodations at Grinnell College.
Who at the College will know about my disability, and does reporting a disability impact my academic standing?
Students who disclose their disabilities to Student Disability Resources will receive reasonable accommodations to help make the educational environment accessible.
Students who disclose their disability will not have their academic standing impacted by disclosing. Information is kept private and only the needed information is disclosed to help coordinate accommodations. 

Health Care and Insurance

How will I access medical care as a student at Grinnell?
All students have on-campus access to Student Health and Wellness (SHAW).
SHAW staff include registered nurses and qualified counselors that provide on-campus health and counseling services to students. 
Most services are free, and all new students receive instructions to submit required health and immunization records to the College.
SHAW also assists students who need to seek care in the local community.
Questions? Please use your SHAW portal or email the SHAW office. 
Do international students have to purchase health insurance?
Yes. All students must carry an ACA-compliant health insurance plan.
As part of the billing process, you will be prompted to either enroll in or request a formal waiver of the Student Health Insurance plan that is available through Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. The deadline to enroll is Aug. 14 but it is best to pre-enroll to ensure coverage prior to your arrival. The charge will be included in your fall bill. 
Should I also purchase dental and/or vision insurance?
Health insurance in the U.S. does not include care for your teeth or eyes (with limited exceptions in a medical situation or students under 19).
Grinnell students all have the option to purchase Delta Dental insurance and/or Delta Vision insurance. This can be a wise decision, since even simple procedures like a dental cleaning and/or a basic eye examination can be very expensive. This additional coverage is also applicable for dental and vision providers in Grinnell.

Immigration Regulations

How will my visa status impact my experience in the U.S.?
Your compliance with your visa status is essential.
Your visa type will impact your options, and you do need to understand the benefits and limitations of your status. The OISA is your primary resources in this regard.
We will teach you a lot during IPOP and throughout your undergraduate experience. We offer regular information sessions, individual advising appointments, and robust advising handouts and forms that are available to students via the OISA's GrinnellShare page (login required). Parents and family are welcome to view introductory information here.
Who at the College can advise me regarding my visa limitations and benefits?
Three professional staff in the OISA are certified Designated School Officials (DSOs).
We are fluent in F and J visa regulations, we are engaged with relevant professional networks, and we have access to expert legal advice.
If your needs exceed our purview or expertise, we can offer legal referrals.   

Parents and FERPA

When, why, and how does the College communicate with my parents?
Click here for parent and family resources, including information about parent and/or guardian notification.
The Office of International Student Affairs welcomes outreach from parents but we don’t typically initiate contact with them, and our priority is to support students directly.
FERPA regulations prevent us from sharing personal information about your educational record without your written consent, with the rare exception of concern for your personal welfare or the safety of others.
What if my parent or alternate emergency contact does not have English fluency?
The OISA has an account with Language Line Solutions, to assist with verbal and written translation services if they are needed in emergency situations.

Residence Hall Life

When will I learn more about my room and my roommate(s)?
The Office of Residence Life shares room assignments in mid-June.
Students are required to live on-campus with limited exceptions.
As an IPOP participant, you can move directly into your fall housing assignment, and you will meet your residence life coordinator (RLC) and community adviser (CA) soon after. RLCs are professional staff who live in the halls and support community life, and CAs are trained peer leaders.
Can I stay in campus residence halls over College break periods?
Residence hall open and closing dates apply to all students, but you can consult the Office of Residence Life if you are having a difficult time booking an affordable flight while abiding by residence hall exit and entry dates. They may be able to offer some flexibility if you plan ahead. Please visit Residence Life's page on break housing for more information about winter and summer breaks.
Fall Break: Residence halls and dining are open for no extra fee.
Winter Break: Halls close, but international students can register to stay. There is a mandatory meal plan fee, and need-based aid is automatically applied.
Spring Break: Residence halls and dining are open for no extra fee.
Summer Break: Residence halls do close for the summer, but some students stay to participate in summer research or to work on campus (F-1 students are automatically allowed to work on campus). Limited campus housing is available for a fee, and some students choose to rent or sublet an off-campus apartment.

Sports and Fitness

Can I join a varsity athletics team?
Grinnell Athletics offers 20 varsity sports (NCAA Division III). If you are interested in participating as a varsity athlete, you should initiate contact with a coach via email. It is wise to reach out as soon as possible.
As an alternative to varsity sports, there are also several club sports, including Frisbee and water polo, and various intramural sports invite broad student participation to compete on a less formal basis with Grinnell peers — including intramural basketball, badminton, or ping pong.
All student have access to Grinnell’s outstanding athletic and fitness facilities.

Thank you for reading the IPOP planning packet. We look forward to meeting you soon, and we hope that you will experience more culture & less shock!

2024 IPOP Mentors

In late July, you will be assigned to an IPOP Mentor, an upper-level student leader who will help us support your arrival. Learn more about your 2024 IPOP Mentors below!

  • Daniel stands in front of a painted multicolored bookshelf with a hand in his pocket, smiling at the viewer

    Yejun (Daniel) ’25

    반가워요! Daniel (he/him) is a physics and classics major from Seongnam-Si, South Korea. He studied at Hanil High School (in Gongju-Si) and Phileo International Academy (in Yongin-Si) before coming to Grinnell. He speaks Korean, English, German, and Mandarin Chinese (though it’s a bit rusty). Some of his favorite places he’s lived include Jeongan-myeon, the site of his high school which is surrounded by mountains and a river, providing a beautiful stage for unforgettable memories during a difficult time; and Munich, where Daniel is currently studying abroad. It has provided an eye-opening opportunity to experience old Bavarian traditions thriving in every corner of a modern, international hub of Germany. At Grinnell, he’s been involved in the International Soccer Club (ISC) and has served as a community advisor (CA) and a Math Lab tutor. He loves to play guitar and star gaze in his free time and even used to do astrophotography as part of an amateur astronomical society in Korea. His favorite quote is from Psalms, 57:8, “Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.”

  • Kenji wears a Grinnell baseball uniform, hat, and baseball glove, and points a baseball straight up towards the viewer

    Kenjiro (Kenji) ’25

    こんちは! Kenji (he/him) is a history major with an education studies concentration from Tokyo, Japan; Greenwich, Connecticut, USA; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He attended Keimei Gakuen High School in Tokyo before coming to Grinnell, and he speaks English, Japanese, and conversational Spanish. He’s lived and traveled to many places in the world, but his time living in Malaysia and traveling around Southeast Asia (specifically Thailand and Vietnam) were some of the best times in his life. He made lifelong friends there and felt truly connected to the people/places more than ever before. In his free time, Kenji loves to fish, cook, and be active in sports. He’s on the Grinnell varsity baseball team, commentates for varsity basketball and soccer games, and works as a global envoy in the Institute for Global Engagement. He has participated in off-campus study opportunities in both Panama and London while at Grinnell. A favorite quote hangs on a wall in his grandparent’s house by Mitsuo Aida: “しあわせはいつもじぶんのこころがきめる。 (“Happiness is always determined by your own heart.”) He loves to be reminded that you make your own happiness, and no one else can do that for you.

  • Utsah sits outside with hanging lights above her head, and smiles while looking to the right

    Utsah ’25

    Namaste! Utsah (she/her) is an economics and math double major with a statistics concentration from Bangalore, India. She studied at the Delhi Public School Bangalore East, and she speaks English and Hindi. Some of the favorite places she’s visited include New York and Florida, and she’s a forever Bangalore fan. Though she grew up in Bangalore, Utsah calls many places “home” — including Delhi, where all of her family is; Chicago, where her parents moved last summer; and Grinnell, because it’s the dearly loved space she’s spent the last three years. In her free time, she loves chatting with friends and grabbing a coffee at Saints Rest; practicing and playing on the Grinnell varsity women’s tennis team; participating in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Economics SEPC, both of which are student-run advocacy groups; and relaxing with Overbooked, a student run-book club started by her roommate! One of Utsah’s favorite quotes is, “Control what you can control.” It’s something that a teammate told her when she was struggling in hard classes, and it’s something she goes back to help calm down when she’s feeling overwhelmed.

  • Sauryanshu stands in front of a vast city landscape, looking at the viewer

    Sauryanshu ’25

    Namaskar! Sauryanshu (he/him) is a computer science and economics double major from Kathmandu, Nepal. Before coming to Grinnell, Sauryanshu studied at the Budhanilkantha School in Kathmandu. He speaks English, Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, and a bit of French and Hungarian. Some of his favorite places he’s visited include Budapest (where he is currently studying abroad), Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Paris, Krakow, the United States, and Puerto Rico. He’s been amazed by their historical significance, architectural marvels, or general cultural environments. In his free time, Sauryanshu loves to read, listen to podcasts/audiobooks, and read the news voraciously. He loves history and geopolitics, and he is obsessed with staying updated on current affairs. He also loves solo travel and a nomadic lifestyle — surviving on grocery store sandwiches and cheap hostels. As he’s spent more time at Grinnell, he’s come to enjoy how pleasantly small the Grinnell community is; you can get to know, or at least become familiar with, almost everyone. One of his favorite quotes is, “I think, therefore I am,” by Rene Descartes, as it highlights how each of us is different, and how our philosophies are different.

  • Betty standing to the left and turning to look at the viewer, surrounded by trees in autumn

    Rui (Betty) ’25

    👋! Betty (she/her) is a psychology and classics double major from Dongguan, China. She studied at Nansha College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) in Guangzhou before coming to Grinnell, and she speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and English. One of Betty’s favorite places she’s visited is Naxos Island, Greece, because of its beauty and the peace and tranquility it brought her. She loved lying on the beach, hearing the sounds of the waves, and watching the sun go down. In her free time, she loves playing any kind of competitive sports. At Grinnell, she’s part of the Grinnell ultimate frisbee women’s team. She also had an important connection with her FIS hosts, Connie and Dave, in her first year. Though they moved away from Grinnell in her second year, they created wonderful memories helping each other learn new things – like Connie and Dave introducing her to new vegetables and local shop owners at the farmer’s markets, and Betty introducing them to new dishes at Chuong Garden. Betty is obsessed with the Strawberry Snow sundae at Dari Barn, which is the perfect mix of strawberry and marshmallow. One of her favorite quotes is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses: “Everything changes; nothing perishes.”

  • Dennis stands in front of green trees and a bright blue sky, smiling at the viewer

    Dennis ’27

    Za sasa hivi boss! Dennis (he/him) is an intended physics and economics major from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Before coming to Grinnell, he studied at Dar es Salaam Independent School, and he speaks Swahili and English. One of Dennis’ favorite places in the world is the Gonja mountains, which hold the village where both sides of his family originated. He feels a great sense of peace and responsibility when he’s there. In his free time, Dennis enjoys Brazilian Ji Jitsu, soccer, and basketball. He also loves to play and listen to classical music and jazz. He has found a second family in Grinnell through the FIS Host program; he attends church with them each week and loves having long-winded conversations over after-church lunch or dinner.  One of Dennis’ favorite quotes is by Robert J. Hanlon: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.”

  • Emily sits in a chair on a balcony surrounded by plants and trees, smiling at the viewer

    Emily ’27

    Здрасти! Emily (she/her) is an intended biology major with a neuroscience concentration from Sofia, Bulgaria. Her secondary school was The American College of Sofia, and she speaks Bulgarian, English, and some German. Emily’s favorite places she’s visited are Milan, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Barcelona, Spain; and Geneva, Switzerland; because of the beautiful landscapes, interesting histories/culture, and memories created with family/friends. In her free time, she loves to play tennis, swim, go for walks, volunteer, explore new places, drink coffee, and eat delicious food. She also loves extreme sports, including skydiving and kayaking. In Grinnell, Emily is involved with the Food Recovery Network and the Salsa and Bachata Student Organization. She also has a very caring and kind FIS host family, whom she spent Thanksgiving with on their farm. One of Emily’s favorite quotes is, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Sethu ’26

    Sanibonani & Molweni! Sethu (she/her) is an economics and intended Spanish major with a neuroscience concentration from Johannesburg, South Africa. She can speak isiZulu, isiXhosa, English, and proficient Spanish. One of Sethu’s favorite places is home (Joburg) and the pace and landscape of Chicago, Illinois. Having bodies of water by the city makes a big difference! In her free time, Sethu enjoys sharing meals, dances, and music from home with friends; exploring the intersectionality of climate justice; making playlists for loved ones; and watching rugby, football (not the American version), diving, and wrestling. In Grinnell, she works at the Spencer Grill and with the Service and Social Innovation office, including on the Social Innovator in Residence Program. She is a part of the African and Caribbean Student Union (ACSU) and the International Student Organization (ISO). One of Sethu’s favorite phrases is, “Ifa kanye,” which is a common phrase in Nguni languages that directly translates to “die once” in reference to everyday efforts.  She loves it as motivation because it reminds her to be thorough when dealing with difficult things, rather than finding a shortcut that could create more inconveniences in the long run.

  • Parikshit stands in front of a vast city landscape, smiling at the viewer

    Parikshit ’26

    নমস্কার (Nomoshkar)! Parikshit (he/him) is an anthropology and economics major with a global development studies concentration from Kolkata, India. Before Grinnell, he studied at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata. Parikshit can speak English, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu — and elementary Greek and Pashto. Along with Kolkata, he also considers Grinnell, Iowa, and Groningen, Netherlands, “home”. A few of his other favorite places include Dublin, Ireland — the first place he got to explore by himself, learning about crossovers between India and Ireland — and Chicago, Illinois — where some of his favorite Grinnellians live and the U.S. city he visits the most! In his free time, Parikshit loves climbing trees (with ample opportunities in Grinnell) and watching Formula1, video podcasts, or Jacob Collier’s music videos. He currently serves as a social coordinator for the International Student Organization (ISO) at Grinnell, and he is learning how to rock climb on the campus climbing wall. A favorite quote is by Punit Renjen (from an email convo): “As you explore yourself and the world, surround yourself with people who inspire you.”

  • Gabriela sits outside in front of a street and tall brick building, smiling at the view

    Gabriela ’26

    Cześć! Gabi (she/her) is a computer science and psychology double major from Kraków, Poland. Before Grinnell, Gabriela studied at V Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace in Kraków, and she can speak Polish, English, and Spanish. Some of her favorite places include Kruje, Albania; Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France; and Ravnogor, Bulgaria. Each lies at the bottom of beautiful mountain peaks, has a rich history, and brings Gabi a sense of peace. In her free time, she’s a devoted longboarder and a giant fan of aviation. At Grinnell, she works as a graphic designer for The Scarlet & Black newspaper; is a student mentor in the Wilson Center Catalyst; teaches fellow Grinnellians Polish as an ALSO tutor; and is a member of the Debate Union, Percussion Ensemble, and the Birding Club. Extra important fun facts include: Gabriela hopes to one day chase down and photograph a non-threatening tornado, she regularly tracks flights online, and she just now found out that giant anteaters’ front legs look like the face of a panda. Gabriela’s favorite quote is by Marie Skłodowska Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.”

  • Phuong stands outside in front of a street lined with trees, smiling while looking down and her hand shading her face

    Phuong ’26

    Xin chào! Phuong (she/her) is an economics and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies double major from Hanoi, Vietnam. She studied at the Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted for secondary school, and she speaks Vietnamese and English. One of Phuong’s favorite places in the world is her home, Hanoi. She’s created many precious memories and connected with so many people there. She loves the food, cafés, and nightlife. Phuong loves music of many genres and loves to sing and play music with friends in her free time. She’s taken voice lessons at Grinnell and even performed at Freesound events. Currently, she’s one of the cab members for the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and has helped organize events to share Vietnamese cuisine and culture with fellow Grinnellians. One of her favorite quotes is by Gloria Anzaldúa: “To survive the Borderlands/you must live sin fronteras/be a crossroads.” She considers the quote a philosophy in reconciling her multifaceted identities, as well as bringing together different identities at Grinnell.

  • Kana stands in a green field with her arms outstretched, smiling at the viewer

    Kana ’25

    こんにちは (Konnichiwa)! Kana (she/her) is a psychology major with a neuroscience concentration from Yokohama, Japan. For secondary school, Kana attended St. Croix Lutheran Academy in Minnesota (U.S.), and she speaks Japanese, English, and a little bit of Korean. A few of her favorite places she’s lived include Minnesota (a beautiful mix of urban and nature, especially in the fall); Amsterdam (great transportation systems and cool places around the city); and her home, Yokohama (a place where her family is that makes her feel calm and relaxed). At Grinnell, she loves to sing with the Grinnell Singers, work with and learn from the kids at the Grinnell College Preschool, and serve in student-led groups like the Psychology SEPC and the Japanese Cultural Association (JCA). She also has an FIS host family, who help provide breaks for her from intense study on campus. They are some of the sweetest people she’s ever met, and feel like an actual family who cares for her when she’s in Grinnell. One of Kana’s favorite quotes is, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Life is full of ups and downs — but everything in her life has helped her become who she is today. This quote always reminds her to reflect and look at how many people care for her.

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