Grinnell College, located in Grinnell, Iowa is where eighteen-year-old Filippos Rotzer is attending college. “I grew up on a small island of Greece near Turkey. The name of this island is Chios, but for the last five years I moved to the Northern part of Greece in a city named Thessaloniki, which is the second city of Greece and why I came here, most really it was a coincidence in a way that gave me the chance to come here and it seemed like a good idea to study at a college in the U.S. and so I came because of a scholarship.”
When it came to applying for the scholarship, Filippos says with the right guidance and help he was able to get through the process. “I worked a lot, but also I feel like I was liked. I had the right people beside me,” he says.
“Most of the kids don’t have the information and the counseling. I mean they don’t have any way to pass all the problems and I mean I had people who knew how to solve the problems and how to help me and I was really lucky about that. I mean not every kid in Greece has the chance to apply for a scholarship in the U.S.”
Initially, Filippos had plans to attend college back home. He may have changed his mind about where to go to college, but he is very sure about what he wants to study while going to Grinnell. “Actually, my plans one year ago, half a year ago was to go to the Greek university and I was going for Physics, but I was offered this scholarship and so I changed my plans and I am very pleased,” he says.
“I was interested in Science many, many years ago and I believe that this place can give me the chance to go ahead with it. I don’t have a major yet because I am a freshman, but I will most likely major in Physics or Biology.”
Filippos says since coming here, there are a few things that were easy to adjust to and a few things that have been a challenge for him. “It was pretty easy I mean to speak to people and stuff like that. It seemed like in many situations I had more experiences than the kids here especially the freshman,” he says. “In matter of life, how to solve a conflict, I don’t know, but that is my opinion, my first opinion for here. There were many weird things for me like the idea that every idea belongs to somebody and you are suppose to note his name and all the citations were pretty strange for me because I haven’t done something like that before,” he says.
“Many times in my tutorial class there were I think like conversation without a meaning sometimes, I mean speaking because we have to speak. That was weird too and the language is weird for me. I came here with quite a medium level of English and I am trying to learn English everyday, but I am getting use to that.”
Receiving a good education is what is important to Filippos. He also says by leaving his homeland, he realizes one can learn more than just academics. “For me it was not so important to come to the U.S. to receive an education, but to receive the best education possible and it seemed like Grinnell College could offer me a good education so I came here,” he says. “I mean if it was in somewhere in Africa I would go there, but it was a very good opportunity and moreover going outside of your country it can teach you much more things than academics.”
Filippos Rotzer will graduate from Grinnell College in 2010. It will be a while before he is finished, but he says he is thinking he will...”I will continue to study somewhere. I don’t know if that is going to be the U.S. or Europe. I don’t think I will go back to Greece to study for my other degree, but maybe in Europe.