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 2018 participants arrive on Sunday, August 19, and move into their fall housing assignment to attend IPOP on August 20–24.

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).

2018 IPOP Mentors

Govind BrahmanyapuraGovind Brahmanyapura ’21 is an intended computer science and mathematics major from Gurgaon, India.

He speaks English and Hindi, and previously attended GD Goenka World School. Two of his favorite places in the world are Geneva, Switzerland and Sikkim, a state in northeast India: “It is relatively undiscovered by tourists, and its raw beauty is breathtaking!”

In his spare time, Govind enjoys playing futsal, playing guitar and piano with his friends, singing often, and taking long drives with loud music! (And he would like you to know: “I am in dire need of jazz, rap, and indie rock playlist recommendations.”) Govind also takes a lot of photographs, both for Instagram and for Grinnell’s Office of Communications.

Devansh ChandgothiaDevansh Chandgothia ’21 is an intended computer science and economics major from Kolkata, India who attended LaMartiniere for Boys. At Grinnell, he is active in AppDev and Code Club.

Before coming to Grinnell, he attended La Martiniere for Boys. Dubai and Singapore rise to the top of Devansh’s list of favorite places, but “No matter how many places I visit, home will always be my favorite. There’s no place like home.” He loves sports (especially playing basketball and soccer, and watching the Premier League and NBA), watching movies, and spending time with friends.

Devansh says, “Choosing to have a host family was one of the best decisions I have made. My host family is very caring and spending time with them has always made me feel great and miss my own family just a little bit less.” If he had $1,000,000, he would use part of the money to travel, part of it for his future, and the rest to start a non-profit organization.

Mahira FaranMahira Faran ’20 is an economics major from Lahore, Pakistan, who speaks Urdu, Arabic, and English.

At Grinnell, she is involved in the Student Government Association (SGA), South Asian Student Organization (SASO), and Student Organization of Latinx (SOL). She enjoys photography, face masks, and cooking, and her favorite places to visit in the world so far have been Greece, Australia, and Vietnam.

If given $1,000,000, Mahira would use it “to build structured houses for the slum population in Pakistan.” Her favorite quote is “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.” (Mahira has kept this quote on her phone’s screensaver, as a source of motivation to do the same.)

Mithila IyerMithila Iyer ’19 is an economics and French major from Chennai, India, where she attended Lady Andal School.

She speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, French, and Tamil, and her favorite places in the world include Paris (where she studied abroad last fall), her hometown of Chennai, and her “other home” of Chicago. Her hobbies include dancing, writing and reading fiction, and learning languages, and she is involved in theatre and student government at Grinnell.

Mithila feels “incredibly lucky to have enjoyed a very close relationship with my FIS hosts over the years, and truly consider them my own family. I spent my first Thanksgiving in the U.S. with them, and was nervous this would be a hard time to be away from home due to the familial nature of the holiday, but I truly felt I was a seamless part of their celebrations – which helped me integrate with greater ease into cultural life in America.”

Hyunmin KimHyunmin Kim ’20 is a mathematics and music major from Seoul, South Korea, who attended the Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies (HAFS) in Yongin.

She speaks Korean, English, and basic Japanese, and in her spare time she loves playing the piano (both classic and jazz), going to the gym regularly, and cooking with friends. If she had $1,000,000, she would “just treat myself and my friends/family with a nice meal and a small shopping splurge, then get back to my normal life and work on myself. I like my life now.” One of her favorite quotes was said by Audrey Hepburn: “Happy girls are the prettiest.”

Ryuta KureRyuta Kure ’21 calls both Fukuoka, Japan and Beijing, China his “home,” but he attended high school in Omaha, Nebraska. He is an intended economics major who speaks English, Japanese, Mandarin, and some Spanish.

His interests include playing percussion instruments, cooking, drawing, sculpting, playing videogames, and keeping animals (particularly aquatic and amphibious species). One of his favorite quotes is “Someday you will miss today.” If Ryuta had $1,000,000 to spend, he would “travel with my family and friends and spend whatever is left repaying people and organizations that have allowed me to grow as a person.” Japan, the Philippines, and Mexico have been some of his favorite places in the world to travel so far.

Nicole Mendez SubietaNicole Mendez Subieta ’21 is an intended economics and sociology major from Cochabamba, Bolivia who attended Colegio Calvert. Nicole speaks Spanish, English, and German.

At Grinnell, she is involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Crecemos Unidos, and the Alternate Language Study Option (learning Portuguese!). Besides her home city of Cochabamba, Nicole’s favorite place in the world is Hamburg, Germany, where she did a cultural exchange for 11 months: “It represents a time when I learned a lot about myself and the world in general.”

She has enjoyed being part of the Friends of International Students (FIS) program, and believes it “not only gave me the support I needed in my transition from Cochabamba to Grinnell, but also gave me the privilege of connecting with people who have a genuine interest of learning from me as I from them.” One of Nicole’s favorite quotes is “You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.”

Felipe Monteforte FerreiraFelipe Monteforte Ferreira ’21 is an intended computer science or economics major from São Paulo, Brasil.

He attended Termomecanica Colégio, São Bernardo do Campo for secondary school, and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English (and is learning German!). At Grinnell, Felipe is involved in the Student Organization of Latinx (SOL), teaching Portuguese with the Alternate Language Study Option (ALSO), and teaching Spanish to middle-school students with LLL (Lunchtime Language Learners).

The tiny walled medieval city of Óbidos in Portugal is one of Felipe’s favorite places in the world – and he recommends going in August, during the Medieval Fair! Felipe recalls playing volleyball on the sand courts during the summer sunset as one of his favorite Grinnell memories. If he had $1,000,000, he would create affordable language schools around the world.

Shudi PanShudi Pan ’19 is a biology major from Changzhou, China. Before enrolling at Grinnell, she attended Liyang High School. She speaks Chinese, English, and a little Japanese, and Copenhagen is her favorite city in the world (she spent spring 2018 participating in the Denmark International Studies program).

In her spare time, Shudi enjoys cooking and playing video games with her friends. If she had $1,000,000 to spend, she would use it to help children on the autism spectrum integrate into the primary education system in China. Shudi loves this quote from Lady Windermere’s Fan, the play written by Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

 Miho TatsukiMiho Tatsuki ’20 is a psychology major from Tokyo, Japan, who attended Shibuya Junior and Senior High School. Fluent in Japanese and English, Miho is also studying Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese.

One of her favorite places to visit has been Tainan, Taiwan: “I visited last summer and I fell in love with the people, food, and architecture. I traveled with Grinnellians. They are great travel company and amazing hosts!” Miho works both as a teaching assistant at Grinnell College Preschool, and as an access leader involved in issues related to accessibility on campus.

She lives by the quote, “Almost always, the created dedicated minority has made the world better” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) In her spare time, Miho loves cuddling with cats, watching cat videos, collecting cat-related stuff, and eating food from all over the world. (And she is very good at imitating animal sounds.)

Abdirahman ‘Abdi’ YusufAbdirahman ‘Abdi’ Yusuf ’20 is a biochemistry major from Burco, Somaliland. He attended Geeska Afrika for secondary school, and speaks Somali, English, Arabic, and some Kiswahili.

In his spare time, Abdi enjoys working out, playing soccer with International Soccer Club, going canoeing with Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP), and “listening to Hindi and Spanish songs even though I do not speak either of those languages – I just enjoy their sound and rhythms.”

Abdi’s FIS host family has been a highlight of his Grinnell experience: “They invite me (and my 3 host siblings) to Thanksgiving dinners, athletic meets, and even take us out on random trips to places like nearby orchards. Even better, they have therapy dogs, chickens, and horses: just what I was hoping for in my host family.”