Meet two of Simpson’s international students


Photo by Coby Berg/The Simpsonian

by Coby Berg, Staff Writer

Simpson College hosts many different international students with drastically different backgrounds each year. Franco Caramelino and Rezadad (Reza) Mohammadi are two international students attending Simpson.

Mohammadi, a sophomore from Afghanistan, has spent a majority of his high school career in the Iowa area.

“As a kid, I always wanted to come to America and I couldn’t tell you why. It just seemed so wonderful, but other than that, I just wanted to see the country. When I was offered the option of coming to America for high school, I agreed to go and went to a private boarding school in Iowa,” said Mohammadi.

Franco, a freshman international relations and global management major from Argentina, also wanted to come to America as a child and waited for his opportunity.

“I originally came to America to learn how to be a translator. Growing up, I saw American movies and I fell in love with the English language. I didn’t know why I wanted to go, it just seemed like a great place to be, and my parents were very supportive about me coming to America, so naturally here I am,” said Caramelino.

The students have experienced differences in culture from their home countries.

“Something that I was confused about when I first got here but quickly learned not to do was to kiss people on the cheek to greet them. Back in Argentina this was just so normal, but here in America many people get upset about this,” said Caramelino.

Food became a talking point for the two. Both men have different ways they enjoyed food in their home country, but they find America’s food to be different than what they have seen.

“The amount of food that Americans eat for each meal is outstanding. Back in Argentina, we would eat more meals throughout the day, but they would be much smaller. Like if we were to have the standard American breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee, that would just be crazy because usually, it’s a slice of toast with some butter or chocolate smeared on top of it with a drink,” said Caramelino.

Mohammadi and Caramelino have spent a lot of time learning about culture in the U.S. and the cultures of the other international students.

“I want to learn about all types of cultures around me, but it has to work both ways. If we only relied on media to tell us about other people, then we wouldn’t trust anyone. The best way to actually learn a culture is first hand by becoming friends with the people you want to learn more about,” said Mohammadi.

Both students have been enjoying their studies and their time at Simpson. The two encourage others on campus to reach out and learn more about other cultures like they have.

This story has been updated.