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International Student of Month for November, Sara Iliafar

Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduce one international student by presenting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to intnl@lehigh.edu.

This month, ISS Graduate Assistant, Aftan Baldwin, interviewed Sara Iliafar, a graduate student from Iran. The following is the interview and pictures that Sara shared with us.

Sara Iliafar

(Sara Iliafar)

Q: First Sara, would you briefly introduce yourself? Tell me what you are studying at Lehigh and when you will graduate.Certainly!

A: I am a fourth year chemical engineering PhD candidate here at Lehigh. 

Q: What do you think about Lehigh, like campus, the dorm, and the courses. What are the most obvious differences between Lehigh and your home universities?

A:Well, I have actually been quite impressed with Lehigh so far.  I have already taken all my graduate level courses but, I feel that the courses that I took here were very useful.  The professors at Lehigh work very hard to make sure that the students follow the course material, and it seems to me that the students’ learning is their focus.  Also, being a graduate student, I have lived off-campus during my entire time at Lehigh, so I am not really able to comment on Lehigh’s graduate housing facilities much; although, I do think that Saucon village is slightly isolated from the rest of the campus.

Q: Describe what daily life is like in your home country, Iran.

A: In regards to the people’s daily life, from what I remember, I think it is pretty much the same as here: people go to work or school during the day, and go home afterwards… nothing crazy, really!

Q: What do you miss about Iran?

A: I miss our trips and vacations to the most beautiful places in Iran.  You know, most people don’t realize this, but Iran is actually a very beautiful country with all sorts of amazing nature scenery and historical places to see.  And, then of course, you can’t forget about the delicious food! And, many more… but, it is really hard to put all the great things about Iran into perspective in just a few words.

Mazandaran province

Q: If someone was going to visit your country, what would you tell them to do there?

A:I would say they should visit the historical Iranian architects, and also to hike the mountains there… most of them are very fun and challenging to climb.

Masuleh Village in Province of Gilan

Si-o-se Pol- Isfahan

Q: What food would you suggest that people try if they go to Iran?

A: Well, of course, chelo kabab! It is Persian rice with grilled lamb kababs and tomatoes.  You can actually get this dish as well as many other amazing ones at Persian restaurants around the Philadelphia area.

Q: What do you like about American culture?

A: Absolutely everything!  The fact that the American Dream can be achieved here, the open-mindedness of Americans about everything and everyone, for example how all other cultures and races are so well-tolerated and respected in this country (this is hardly the case in other countries).  It is so very remarkable to me how everyone is always encouraged here to come up with new practical ideas,  get creative with no matter what they are doing and especially when it comes down to science and technology, and constantly pursue ways to improve the current ways of doing things. 

Q: Have you participated in any activities held by ISS and what was your impression if you did?

A: Yes, I have been to a few of them.  I think that they are very well-planned and successfully executed every time; they also create a strong network for the International student community by bringing everyone together, and providing support to them. 




Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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