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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Nini Pataridze

Photo by Ariel Richards.

Nini Pataridze `22 was sure she wanted an American education. She applied to several liberal arts colleges in the U.S., Grinnell College included, from her home country of Georgia. As Pataridze was applying to the colleges, Grinnell did not start out as her first choice, but as the process progressed and she received her acceptance, she ultimately chose Grinnell. 

Pataridze said the determining factors that led to her choice was Grinnell’s sense of a small, tight-knit community and the small class sizes that would allow her to know her professors better. 

However, she had concerns about coming to Grinnell. For starters, she was moving to an entirely new, unfamiliar country thousands of miles away. A town of 9,000 people in the American Midwest was going to be a significant shift from her home in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, an ancient, culturally rich city of over a million people.  

Grinnell really helped me to understand how much of my identity is because of my culture and where I come from. – Nini Pataridze

Ultimately, Pataridze found her place in Iowa. The risk paid off, and she is happy about her decision to come to Grinnell having learned things about herself. 

“When you come from a different country and you’re, like, thrown into this small community that’s not in the most global place but has a lot of international students, you start to really respect and understand the worth and value of your culture and who you are as a person. So, I would say Grinnell really helped me to understand how much of my identity is because of my culture and where I come from,” Pataridze said.  

Pataridze is also grateful for the friendships she has formed with fellow international students during her time at Grinnell and the unique bond they share. 

“We all miss our home, our culture, our language, you know, traditions, customs, and that is something we share through our differences here,” she said.  

Pataridze appreciates the work of organizations like the International Student Organization (ISO) that allowed her to share her culture and experience others’ cultures, something that ultimately led to the friendships she will cherish after she leaves Grinnell.  

She says that Grinnell has given her access to opportunities she did not have before. Through the Institute for Global Engagement, Pataridze was able to study abroad in Copenhagen last year. 

Pataridze has concrete future steps after Grinnell. She hopes to utilize her double major in history and political science to work as a refugee caseworker, eventually go to graduate school and, at some point, go back to Georgia.  

Pataridze says that Grinnell alumni have been great resources for staying hopeful through the sense of uncertainty about the future that comes with graduating. 

She explained that Grinnell had more in-person opportunities for current students to meet alumni during pre-Covid years and she would like to see this happening again (although she understands that it is difficult given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic). 

As her parting message to current and future Grinnellians, Pataridze encourages students to take advantage of all the resources Grinnell has to offer. 

“Even if you’re not sure that the opportunities are there, go and ask. Go to faculty or go to staff, ask about something you’re interested in and what you can do.” 

To her fellow graduating fourth years, she says: 

“I’m just happy we made it. And I’m really, really proud especially because of the years that we had at Grinnell, unconventional years. … We made it regardless of things that have happened to us along the way,” she said. 

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About the Contributor
Jandry Perez Garcia
Jandry Perez Garcia, News Editor
Jandry is a fourth-year economics student. He loves to cook, especially crepes, which he can be found making in Younker kitchen.
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