IPOP Mentors & Participants 2019

International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP)

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IPOP 2020

If you are reviewing this page, we hope that means that you’ll be joining us at Grinnell. We think you are making an excellent decision!

All new Grinnellians participate in New Student Orientation (NSO). In addition, new international students are required to arrive a few days earlier to participate in the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP).  Fall 2020 IPOP participants need to arrive on Sunday, August 16.  You will move into your residence hall that day, and you will join your new classmates from around the world to participate in IPOP, Aug. 17–21.

IPOP is planned by the Office of International Student Affairs, in collaboration with an impressive team of mentors. We will help you prepare for life and learning in the U.S., and at Grinnell College. You’ll learn about a variety of important regulatory issues that impact your stay, and discuss some of the cultural issues that may impact your transition. You will meet your IPOP mentor, your Friends of International Students community host, a number of Grinnell staff and faculty — and you will have a great time with new classmates!  IPOP includes campus and community tours, shopping for needed supplies, and time to open a bank account and apply for a U.S. Social Security card (assuming eligibility).

During NSO, you’ll be joined by the entire incoming class! This program includes tutorial meetings, language placement tests, computer workshops, course registration, and a number of community-values sessions. NSO is a great time to become acquainted with your academic adviser and your roommate(s) and floor mates, as well as getting to know your community assistant (CA) and residence life coordinator (RLC).

IPOP Mentors 2019

2019 IPOP Mentors

  • Aarzoo Bhimani

    Aarzoo Bhimani ’21

    Aarzoo is a biology and sociology major, with a pre-med track, from La Croix-sur-Lutry, Switzerland, and Rajkot, India. Before coming to Grinnell, she attended the International School of Lausanne, Switzerland. Aarzoo speaks fluent English, French, Gujarati, and Hindi, and some German and Polish. Her favorite place in the world is Krakow, Poland. “I lived there for only 3 years, but got quite attached to the place. It is a beautiful city with many cultural and historical sites, and AMAZING cuisine!” Aarzoo is a member of the International Student Organization (ISO) cabinet for 2019–20, and has a great relationship with her Friends of International Students (FIS) host family. “We see each other almost weekly, and we treat each other like real family. We are able to share personal conversations, and have formed a deep attachment. This connection is something I will hold onto for the rest of my life.”

  • Sang Yoon

    Sang Yoon Byun ’21

    Sang Yoon is a computer science major from Seoul, South Korea, and he attended the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for secondary school. He speaks English and Korean, and considers Annapurna Mountain Trek (Nepal), Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage (Spain), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) as his favorite places he has traveled to. Sang Yoon also served in the South Korean Army for two years (while on leave from Grinnell), where he says, “I met many wonderful people in so many wonderful places.” Here at Grinnell, Sang Yoon likes to cook food on Friday evenings with friends. He also taught himself to play the guitar, and he has performed on stage during the ISO Cultural Show. He is in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter at Grinnell, which is focused on teaching basic programming to children. Sang Yoon meets with his FIS host family for meals, and his favorite quote is: “Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so" — Ernest Hemingway

  • Montserrat “Mon” Castro Gómez ’21

    Montserrat “Mon” Castro Gómez ’21

    Mon is a French and gender, women, and sexuality studies major from Querétaro, México, where she attended John F. Kennedy International School of Querétaro. She speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and recently participated in a Grinnell Global Learning Program (GLP) titled, Tolerance and Intolerance, where she traveled to France and Germany to study intolerant and extremist outbreaks of xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism. Mon’s favorite place she has traveled to is Gourdon, France — but she says that her home in Querétaro is her favorite place in the world. Her hobbies include languages, feminist theory, ramen, and the color purple. At Grinnell, Mon writes for the Scarlet & Black (college newspaper); she is part of the Student Organization of Latinxs (SOL); and she has a Friends of International Students (FIS) host family. She says, “My hosts are two lovely women that have been very helpful and nice to me. We have very interesting conversations. I've enjoyed spending time with people outside the college. The FIS relationship offers the potential for a two-way learning environment.”

  • Huandong Chang ’22

    Huandong Chang ’22

    Huandong is an intended computer science major from Tianjin, China, where he attended Nankai High School. He speaks English and Mandarin, and he loves to travel! Singapore is his favorite place that he has visited. Huandong loves all kinds of sports, including tennis, soccer, and weight training. He also loves cooking Chinese food, and he is the president of the Chinese Student Association (CSA). He says that his FIS host family has been a great help in learning more about Grinnell. “When we get the chance to meet, we talk about what is happening on campus, and we talk about experiences in other countries — since we all love to travel, and my host family has been to Europe as international students. The College provides me with a strong academic environment and support, and interacting with my host family helps me learn outside of the classroom.”

  • Arunima Fatehpuria ’21

    Arunima Fatehpuria ’21

    Aru is a psychology major with an intended statistics concentration from Kolkata, India. She attended La Martiniere for Girls before coming to Grinnell, and speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, and Bengali. In her spare time, Aru loves cooking and baking. “I have chai ‘sessions’ with some of my other South Asian friends when we haven’t caught up in a while. I also enjoy coming up with recipes using ingredients available in DHall.” She is also involved in the International Student Organization (ISO) and the Rosenfield Committee. She worked as assistant stage manager for the theatre department; as a teacher’s assistant at Grinnell College Preschool; and as the international admissions intern within the Office of Admission. Aru’s favorite quote is, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” — Gandhi

  • Pratik Karki ’20

    Pratik Karki ’20

    Pratik is a computer science and economics major with a statistics concentration from Kathmandu, Nepal, and New Zealand. For secondary school, he attended Rato Bangala School in Kathmandu, and he can speak English, Nepali, Hindi, and Spanish (elementary). Pratik participated in Grinnell’s Global Learning Program titled “Immigration, Refugees”, where he traveled to Mexico, Spain, Greece, and Germany; and he studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary for a semester — but his favorite place in the world is still Kathmandu. In his free time, Pratik enjoys playing the guitar (hard rock/blues) and drawing sketches. He is involved in Grinnell Model UN and AppDev as an Android development lead, and he also has a Friends of International Students (FIS) host. He says, “Most of my best friends were people that I met in IPOP.” Pratik’s favorite quote is: “You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it." — Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront (1954)

  • Muzi “Annie” Li ’20

    Muzi “Annie” Li ’20

    Annie is a mathematics major from Beijing, China, and she speaks English, Mandarin, and Spanish. Before coming to Grinnell College, she attended Beijing No. 8 High School. She spent spring 2019 on a studying abroad program in Madrid, Spain — to practice her Spanish and learn about European culture. She has enjoyed most of the places she has traveled to, but her favorite place will always be her hometown, Beijing.  Annie enjoys watching TV shows and movies, and she also has a great passion for food around the world. She has been a Grinnell College community advisor (CA) and the event coordinator for the Chinese Student Association (CSA), and she has a Friends of International Students (FIS) host family. Annie’s favorite quote is: “If opportunity knocks, build a door.” — unknown

  • Nhi Ngo ’20

    Nhi Ngo ’20

    Nhi is a computer science and mathematics major from Hanoi, Vietnam, where she attended the Foreign Language Specialized School. She loves Hanoi because “it is a peaceful city with a lot of delicious and cheap food.” Nhi speaks English, Vietnamese, and Mandarin, and has traveled to Singapore, London, and throughout the U.S. Her hobbies include makeup, watching Korean drama, arranging handmade flowers, and writing Chinese characters. At Grinnell, she is also involved in the Vietnamese Student Association, which involves regular potlucks, performing in the International Student Organizations (ISO) culture evening, and organizing Vietnamese food stall study breaks. Nhi also has a Friends of International Students (FIS) host. She describes her host mom as “very empathetic. She knows that I might miss food from my country, so she will often bring me Vietnamese snacks, or ask me to cook a Vietnamese dish with her. She is a great source of support and I feel very comfortable confiding in her about my hardships and joys.”

  • Nana Okamoto ’20

    Nana Okamoto ’20

    Nana is a classics and sociology major. Home for Nana includes Japan, Singapore, Germany, and the U.S. She speaks Japanese, Latin, and English, and for secondary school she attended ICU High School in Tokyo, Japan. Nana is a captain of the Women’s Cross Country team and she is active in the International Student Organization (ISO). She participated in course-embedded travel last spring, where she went to Greece and the UK to learn about the ownership of Greek sculpture. She likes photography, movies, and makeup, and she is currently working on a podcast about sex, gender, and sexuality. Nana is also a part of Friends of International Students (FIS). “I had surgery last summer, and my host family stayed with me in the hospital, and let me stay at their house during my recovery. I was so glad to have that kind of support in an unexpected and stressful situation. They have two cats, two dogs, and as of last December, a new baby! Their house is full of life, and visiting for dinner is a perfect break from the Grinnell grind.”

  • Aabid Shamji ’20

    Aabid Shamji ’20

    Aabid is a computer science major, statistics concentration, from Kisii, Kenya. Before Grinnell, he attended Aga Khan Academy (Mombasa, Kenya). He speaks English and Swahili, and he pretends to speak Hungarian (after a semester abroad in Budapest). Aabid’s favorite places in the world are Kenya and Budapest. “Hungary is a culturally rich country with an equally captivating history. Budapest is in the middle of the cross roads between east and west, providing an incredibly unique exposure to Central Europe. Kenya is also great – with rich cultural diversity, friendly people, lush landscapes, and a perfect climate.” Aabid is on the African Caribbean Student Union (ACSU) cabinet; he is president of the Model UN club; and he works for the computer science department, ITS, and AppDev. He also enjoys sailing, scuba diving, photography, traveling, and dogs. His favorite quote is: “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” — Roger Caras

  • Calvin Tang ’20

    Calvin Tang ’20

    Calvin is a physics and music major from Hong Kong SAR, where he attended the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. He speaks English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and beginner German and Italian, and he recently studied abroad in Milan, Italy, through a music and innovation program to take jazz courses and work on saxophone performance. Calvin’s favorite places he has traveled to are Berlin, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan. “I love the history and culture of Berlin and I love the hustle and bustle of Tokyo — and the amazing food!” In his free time, Calvin enjoys listening/playing music, watching TV, and playing basketball, board games, and 8-ball pool (“the real kind!”). He is involved in Jazz Ensemble and Friends of International Students (FIS) and he is the incoming vice president of the International Student Organization (ISO). Calvin is also in a student band called Migratory Birds. Calvin has a unique interest in airplanes — particularly fighter jets — and he dreams of becoming a pilot!

  • Ishaan Tibrewal ’21

    Ishaan Tibrewal ’21

    Ishaan is an economics and psychology major from Kolkata, India, where he attended St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, and participated in an exchange program to Kunming, China. He speaks English, Hindi, and Bengali, and one of his favorite places is Boston. In terms of hobbies, Ishaan loves playing all kinds of sports and outdoor activities. He likes listening to music, cooking, and watching movies. “I’m the person who laughs for way too long after the joke is over, and I am always napping in awkward places.” Ishaan is on the varsity tennis team, and he is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He served as Student Government Association senator; he takes part in intramural soccer; and he taught an Ignite course to second and third graders. He is active in Friends of International Students, “This program is great because you get to know a family away from home, who are super supportive. My hosts come to watch my tennis matches, and I have also spent Thanksgiving with them.”

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