IPOP Mentors

International Pre-Orientation Program [IPOP]

Information for IPOP 2022 will be posted in Spring & Summer 2022!

Welcome! Grinnell is an international student friendly campus and we are all eager to meet you.

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) is fluent in your regulatory needs and the nuances of cultural sojourn. We are co-located with the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) on the first floor of the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC). Our team is dedicated to helping you be successful, and to helping Grinnell College be International Student Friendly. The information coming Summer 2022 will help you prepare for the adventure! You are welcome to reach out with questions to OISA. We look forward to meeting you!

Karen Edwards, Dean of International Student Affairs & Exchange Visitors, PDSO/RO
Brenda Strong, Associate Director of International Student Compliance, DSO/ARO
Emily Perry, Assistant Director of International Student Programs, DSO

Meet the IPOP 2021 mentors below!

#YouAreWelcomeHere #MiddleOfEverywhere #CourageToSpare

2021 IPOP Mentors

  • Rachael Arkell

    Rachael Arkell ’22

    Rachael is a French major with a linguistics concentration from Winchester, U.K. Before coming to Grinnell, she attended Alton College in the U.K., and can speak English, French, and small amounts of many other languages. As a Grinnellian, Rachael has participated in course-embedded travel to Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and hopes to study abroad in Paris next spring. Her favorite place she has traveled to is the island city of Le Mont Saint Michel in France: “The architecture is magical, its narrow, winding streets crammed with bustling shops (which inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter), leads steeply up to the abbey at the top.” Rachael enjoys arts and crafts with friends and keeping up with world news, and is involved in the Oratorio Society and Friends of International Students (FIS) at Grinnell, stating that her host family has “widened my experience of Grinnell from the college bubble to the community.”

  • Huandong in a green field with a goat

    Huandong Chang ’22

    Huandong is a mathematics and computer science double major from Tianjin, China. He speaks Mandarin and English, and attended Tianjin Nankia High School before coming to Grinnell. Huandong loves to visit Singapore: “I love its order and its harmony between man and nature. Also, I took my last trial on SAT there, and it directly (or indirectly) led me to Grinnell. Singapore is my lucky place.” Huandong loves participating in sports like swimming, tennis, soccer, and weight training. One of his most memorable times at Grinnell was going canoeing with GORP (Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program) in Arkansas for a week. He also talks with his FIS Host Family about the history and culture of Grinnell and around the world.

  • Shubhi stands outside with her hand by her head

    Shubhika (Shubhi) Devrani '22

    Shubhi is an economics and political science double major from Mumbai, India. She studied at Oberoi International School for secondary school and she is proficient in Hindi, English, and Spanish. She’s enjoyed traveling to places like Indonesia, the U.K., and Switzerland. In her free time, Shubhi likes to practice meditation and mindfulness, yoga, and healthy cooking/baking. She is also really interested in houseplants and traveling. At Grinnell, she has participated in Mock Trial, the Class Ambassador Program through the Student Government Association (SGA), and has been a preschool teacher and middle/high school mentor. Shubhi also loves to cook and explore different cultures with her Friends of International Students (FIS) host family. One of her favorite quotes by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle, loss. They have an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

  • Kexin, sitting in a green field next to a small tree

    Kexin (Sherry) Huang ’22

    Sherry is a psychology major with a neuroscience concentration from Wuhan, China. She attended Wuhan Britain-China School before coming to Grinnell and speaks Mandarin, English, and a little bit of Japanese. Sherry’s favorite places in the world are her home city, Wuhan, and the city of Osaka. She believes they have similar vibes as they are both warm places, physically and emotionally. Sherry enjoys singing, reading manga, and cooking. Recently, she’s been watching other people’s morning routines on YouTube to make up for the fact that she could never get up early. She has been the publicity coordinator for the Chinese Student Association at Grinnell and is the incoming Vice President of Grinnell’s International Student Organization (ISO). A quote Sherry loves is by Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I like the the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

  • Shirley Jwa

    Shirley Jwa ’22

    Shirley is a biochemistry major, and considers both Seoul, South Korea, and Bellevue, Washington, U.S., as her home. She attended Newport High School in Washington, U.S. for secondary school, and speaks Korean, English, and some Mandarin and Spanish. In her free time, Shirley enjoys playing the piano, singing karaoke, and traveling. At Grinnell, she is the current president of the Korean Student Association (KSA), plays water polo, and is a part of the Cultural Attaché Program. Shirley’s favorite places that she has lived or visited include Seoul and Yeosu in South Korea, Hanoi, Vietnam, Kyoto, Japan, and San Diego, California, U.S. A quote that she loves is: “Even when you think it’s too late, it is the best time to start.”

  • Isidro sitting on the steps of a house

    Isidro Mendizabal '23

    Isidro is a theatre and dance major from Quito, Ecuador. He attended Fundación Colegio Americano de Quito for secondary school and speaks Spanish and English. One favorite place he’s visited is the mountain Pasochoa in Ecuador. He misses the mountains and his siblings! At Grinnell, Isidro likes to make short films, read plays, and watch movies. In town, he likes to bike around at night and likes that Grinnell looks like a movie set. He also has a host family, Nancy and Allan Maly: “During my second year, a friend invited me to dinner with their host parents and it was so fun. It was experiencing the town from a different perspective, and they were so warm towards me. I got adopted. Now my best friend is also my host brother.”

  • Ariel smiles while standing outside

    Ariel Richards ’23

    Ariel is a chemistry major from Kingston, Jamaica. She attended Immaculate Conception High School before coming to Grinnell, and she speaks English and intermediate Spanish. One of the best places she’s visited is Italy: “I enjoyed the calm and friendly ambiance, the historical sites/sceneries, and the food. My most favourite activities in Italy were climbing to the top of buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica then basking in the beauty of view and definitely eating gelato.” In her free time, Ariel’s go-to hobbies are karaoke and playing the piano, and she’s currently learning how to play the harp! At Grinnell, Ariel takes photos for the Scarlet & Black, and performs with the Grinnell Singers. She is also involved in campus organizations like the African and Caribbean Students Union, Black Students in STEM, Gender and Women Minorities in Computing, GrinTECH, and ISO. A fun fact about Ariel is that she collects coins and keychains from around the world.

  • Antonella Diaz Rodriguez

    Antonella Diaz Rodriguez ’23

    Antonella is an undecided major from Quito, Ecuador, interested in pursuing education licensure, and speaks Spanish, English, and beginner Arabic. She attended Academia Cotopaxi in Quito for secondary school, but has lived all over the world! She lists Canelones, Uruguay; Muscat, Oman; Cairo, Egypt; and Quito, Ecuador, as her favorite places she has lived. At Grinnell, Antonella is involved in the Latin American Ensemble, works at the Grinnell College Preschool, and was the 2020 Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship recipient. She enjoys dancing as well, which she participates in through the Student Organization of Latinxs (SOL). Antonella also participates in the Friends of International Student Program, saying that her host family has “become like a second family that is constantly checking in on me. I really feel like I have somewhere to go whenever I feel homesick or need some advice. Overall, the experience has been amazing.”

  • Akshat Tiwari

    Akshat Tiwari ’23

    Akshat is an art history major, with the intention to double major with economics, from Kolkata and Hyderabad, India. They attended St. Xavier’s Collegiate School for secondary school and speaks Hindi, Bengali, and English. Akshat enjoys visiting Dublin, Ireland; Mcleodganj, India; Shillong, India; Singapore; San Francisco, U.S.; and their hometown of Kolkata. In their free time, Akshat likes to look at art, visit museums, cycle, play trivia, and practice portrait/amateur photography. An important fact about Akshat is that they played Simba in a Lion King production as a kid, something they are still very proud of! At Grinnell, Akshat runs a radio show for KDIC (a local Grinnell radio station), and participates in the FIS Program: “They let me spend Thanksgiving with them, introducing me to this American holiday, and they made me care packages to deal with finals week stress, making me feel more at home.” They are also active with off-campus study programming, studying abroad in Copenhagen (Spring 2021) and soon again in Amsterdam (Spring 2022). Akshat will serve on the ISO Cabinet for the 2021-22 school year.

  • Rei stands with a city skyline behind her

    Rei Yamada ’22

    Rei is a studio art major, with an intention to double major in art history. Though she was born in Tokyo, Rei feels most at home in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and attended Hong Kong International School for secondary school. She identifies more often as global nomad rather than associating with one particular country or nationality, and she can speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English. The Gold Coast in Australia, Kuala Lampur in Malaysia, and Morocco are some of Rei’s favorite travel destinations. Some of Rei’s hobbies include drawing, painting, learning new languages — but her most unique interest is always finding a new skincare routine. She also dearly love cats. One of her favorite quotes is by Scarlett O’Hara: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

  • Austin Yu

    Xinmiao (Austin) Yu ’23

    Austin is an intended physics and computer science double major from Guangzhou, China. He attended the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University for secondary school, and speaks Mandarin and English. At Grinnell, Austin is involved in the Chinese Student Association (CSA), Outdoor Recreation Club, and Friends of International Students (FIS). He also enjoys photography, specializing in landscape and portrait. Two of his favorite places in the world are Chongqing, China and his hometown of Guangzhou. Austin’s favorite quote is: “Pure pragmatism cannot imagine a bold future. Pure idealism cannot get anything done” Richard M. Nixon.

  • Sun is wearing a straw hat, smiling and pointing his fingers to the left

    Sun Yuvachitti ’24

    Sun is an undecided major from Nonthaburi, Thailand, who may be interested in studying history, English, or Spanish at Grinnell. He attended International Community School in Bagkok for secondary school. Sun can speak English, Thai, and Spanish, and has a well-rounded knowledge of basic phrases in Portuguese, Italian, French, Turkish, and Hindi/Urdu. He also loves to travel around Bangkok and Singapore. In his free time, Sun can be found looking up historical topics on his laptop, having deep conversations with his friends, or going on long walks around campus and Grinnell. He works in Dining Services on campus, and hopes to start a history club with his friends in the future! One of his favorite quotes is by Thomas Paine: “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

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