When Pedram Foushanji was an undergraduate student in Kabul, Afghanistan, he was not planning on attending Michigan State. He was not mentally preparing for snow, a large campus, or Big Ten football games.The Fulbright Program had other plans. Pedram was awarded a scholarship to attend Michigan State University, and is now in his second year of his Masters within the Construction Management program.

When Pedram first arrived, he had a hard time understanding how vast the state and campus seemed to be in Michigan since his university in Afghanistan was so much smaller and dense. He has since gotten used to the lay of the land and enjoys traveling all over Michigan, especially to Detroit to attend concerts like Korn and Alter Bridge. In a typical week, you can find Pedram enjoying a meal at Saffron Grill, one of his favorite restaurants in the East Lansing area, hanging out in the International Center, or tailgating at Michigan State football games.

After graduation Pedram hopes to pursue a PhD, and would love to work for a construction company his family owns back home in Afghanistan. Returning to his family and being home in the downtown cafes and music venues is something he looks forward to. Pedram noted that, “Sometimes you need to be away from things to be able to fully appreciate them.”

Pedram started one of the first (and only) metal bands in Afghanistan with his brother, and plays the drums. The band, District Unknown, has an album out (Anatomy of a 24 Hour Life) and will soon be featured in a full-length documentary film.

We asked Pedram for advice and thoughts he would share with new incoming international students and he recalled a story of when he first arrived in East Lansing for International Student Orientation, he lost track of where he parked his bike, and got two Michigan State basketball players to help him find it, by merely describing the windows of the building of which he left it at. Pedram advises other international students to take winter seriously, and to expand their horizon beyond the major they are in, and the classes they are taking, “Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it here. No matter who you are or what your hobby is, there are many student organizations and groups.” And also, make sure you don’t turn the heat off in the winter, a mistake he’s made one too many times.

Pedram did not originally picture himself on the large campus of Michigan State, but he has turned his experience here into a positive adventure of traveling, studying hard, and building lifelong relationships.

W7XnfIL-swzMHCRIalzLxfiMDvmqiOQoWVkOsm-UNzMPedram Foushanji was interviewed by John Nowak, a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Sponsored Student Program intern. He has worked at OISS since last spring and enjoys meeting and interacting with sponsored students from all over the world. John is in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and also is studying Spanish at MSU.