OIS 2014 Counselors & Greetings

header photo
OIS counselors at Yale sophomores, juniors and seniors with a wide range of backgrounds and interest, but most importantly they want to share their excitement about Yale with you! 

Stay tuned for details about the OIS 2015 Counselors... coming soon.

Head Counselors

Joao Pedro (JP) Drechsler

Joao Pedro (JP) Drechsler is a rising junior in Ezra Stiles. Hailing from Porto Alegre, Brazil, Joao Pedro is an Economics major focusing on development economics, China-Brazil relations, and international arbitrage. Outside of his major, Joao Pedro enjoys taking classes in Philosophy (having participated in the Directed Studies program during his freshman year), East Asian Studies, and Foreign Languages. At Yale, he's heavily involved with the Yale International Relations Association, the Elmseed Enterprise Fund, Brazil Club, and the Leadership Institute. JP hopes to pursue a career in consulting or finance with the aim of eventually transitioning into the International Development field. JP is an avid espresso drinker, traveler, and bookworm!

Maia Eliscovich Sigal

Maia Eliscovich Sigal is a rising junior in Timothy Dwight College. She was born in Quito, Ecuador, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She now lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is an Economics and Political Science double major, and wishes to work with policy for economic development in the future. Maia is involved in the Yale College Council, and very excited to be a Head Counselor for OIS 2014. In her free time she enjoys taking pictures, traveling, and meeting new people (especially fellow international students!).

Houriiyah Tegally

Hey international kids! My name is Houriiyah - a rising junior in Branford. I’m from Mauritius, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean where we speak Creole, French, English (I can also understand hindi/urdu) and are a fun mix of Africa and Asia. I hence love diversity and everything international which makes me super excited to meet you all and introduce you to life at Yale. The international community on campus is extremely fun and friendly and OIS is always extremely enjoyable! I study cognitive science, biology and some computer science and I am involved with groups like the African Students Association, the Chaplain’s Office, and Yale Model UN. I love traveling and I try to do it as much as I can afford to - this summer will be my first time in East Asia! I also love photography, sunny days, home-made food, and laughing with my friends. Congrats, welcome to Yale and see you at OIS!


Michelle Angwenyi

Hi! I am a sophomore from Nairobi, Kenya, in Saybrook College. I am an MCDB and possibly Environmental Studies double major. I sing for Asempa! Yale's African a cappella group, and I am a 2014-2015 Chaplaincy Fellow. I am also a part of the Women in Science at Yale network. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and writing poetry and strange stories, and googling giraffes and red pandas. :)

Philipp Arndt

If you ask Philipp where he is from, he’ll most likely respond with “Bavaria”. This mysterious “Bavaria” is a German state, which would probably be Texas if it were in the United States. (Like, lots of conservative people and even more cows...) Despite his regional patriotism, Philipp has agreed to represent all of Germany in his position as OIS counselor. Being the current president of the German Society at Yale, he had some time to practice. In his spare time, whenever he is not occupied wearing his leather pants, eating pretzels and being incredibly German, Philipp will be out taking photos for Yale's Office of Public Affairs, racing for the Yale Skiing Club or spending some quality time in the Pierson library with his Economics & Mathematics textbooks. If you decide to go to the gym, you might also find him swinging around bars or twisting and turning somewhere up in the air. Trying to find people who do this crazy stuff with him, Philipp has founded Yale's Club Sports program in Gymnastics last year and is looking for people to join. (Hint: He would love to have some international freshmen in his club. After all, freshman year is the perfect time to try out new things and we all know for a fact that international students rock.)

Monique Arnold

My name is Monique, or Mo as most of my friends call me, and I'm a rising senior in Calhoun College from Kingston, Jamaica! I did OIS Orientation as a freshman and absolutely loved it, having met some of my best friends to this day during it. I'm a Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry major, and also pre-med, so a lot of my time is spent doing science classes! I also am a math course grader and physics peer tutor. Outside of these academic interests, I'm involved with New Haven REACH (helps get high school kids into college) and the Yale West Indian Students' Organization. This past Spring Break I also led a coordinated a volunteer trip of Yalies to my hometown. In my spare time I enjoy eating out in New Haven and watching scary movies. I'm so excited to meet all of you and help you begin your Yale journey!

Dur e Aziz Amna

Hey OIS 2014, congrats and welcome! I’m Dure (it’s like Hurray with a D), a senior at Yale from Islamabad, Pakistan. I’m majoring in English but am also interested in History and Art History. Currently studying abroad in London, I will be back in New Haven over the summer for an internship with the Yale Center for British Art. Some of my most fulfilling and fun experiences at Yale have involved the international community, organizations like the ISO, and events like OIS. I am so excited to be back as a counselor and will do my best to ensure that you guys find OIS to be a welcoming and memorable experience. See you in August!

Alicia Borja Alvarez

¡Hola! My name is Alicia and I am from Madrid, in Spain. I love backpacking, running, Chinese food, watching soccer (Real Madrid!)... I am planning on majoring in Mathematics and Economics, and at Yale I am part of organizations such as the Leadership Institute (and the Leadership Education and Development program), Smart Woman Securities, or Mathcounts. I am very excited to meet you and get to know you. I hope you have fun!

Kenza Bouhaj

My name is Kenza, and I hail from the majestic land of Morocco. I went to high school in South Africa, where I met people from over 40 African countries (shout out to African Leadership Academy!). I am a sophomore in Stiles College, majoring in Economics & Mathematics. Outside of class, I enjoy teaching New Haven high school students through Hemispheres, I am involved with the Arab Students Association and I love dancing with my friends.

Zara Contractor

Hi! My name is Zara A. Contractor, and I’m from the bustling, beautiful city of Mumbai, India. I currently plan to major either in Economics, or in Economics and Mathematics. On campus, I’m involved in Econ related groups like the Yale Business society and Yale Economic Review, and would love to tell you about them. I can’t wait to meet you all!

Yupei Guo

Hello, and welcome to OIS 2014! My name is Yupei and I'm a rising sophomore in Branford College. I was born in Beijing, China, and this is my first time studying in the US. I am interested in sociology (especially education and gender equality), psychology, and art history; I envision myself majoring in the humanities. At Yale, I am pretty involved in YSEC (Yale Student Environmental Coalition) and China-related organizations such as China Care and Building Bridges. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, jogging, reading, Chinese classical music, and playing bridge. Anyway, OIS has been an incredible experience for me, and I can't wait to meet everyone of you!

Reem Hussein

Hello Freshmen! My name is Reem. I am a rising sophomore from Lebanon, and I will be one of your counselors this year. I am a prospective Ethics, Politics and Economics major, and specifically interested in international law and global affairs. At Yale, I am involved in the Arab Students Association, the International Students Organization, and the Yale International Relations Association. This summer, I will be taking a course in Global Politics at the London School of Economics. Can't wait to meet you all!

Walid Hassan

Hey! My name is Walid Hassan and I was born in Cairo, Egypt. Although I refer to this destination as “home”, I was raised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where I spent 14 years and attended a boarding school in Switzerland for the duration of my high school career. I’m a rising Sophomore in Branford College and will most likely double major in Biomedical Engineering and Economics. I was fortunate enough to do OIS last year and I can confidently say that, to this day, it has been one of my most treasured memories at Yale. I was fortunate enough to spend a significant portion of my childhood and adolescent years on three different continents but OIS offered a sense of cultural diversity I could have never imagined. Alongside a rigorous academic curriculum, my main extracurricular commitments include the Arab Student Association, International Student Organization, Yale International Relations Association, Relay for Life, and the Yale Business Society. I’m very excited to meet you all in August and I can guarantee that the memories formed during this period will be invaluable. Until August internationals!

Saifullah Khan

I am a junior (Trumbull ’16) from Kabul, Afghanistan majoring in Cognitive Science. I speak six languages, play for the Yale Chess Club, and almost every IM sport offered at Yale. I captained four teams during the year for Trumbull, and helped bring the Tyng Cup home after half a century. In my spare time I work at OISS and also as a Master’s Aide at the Trumbull Library, affectionately called the Trumbrary.

Joe Li

I was born in China and went to boarding school in the UK. Now I live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m a rising sophomore in Morse College and a prospective Economics major. On campus, I’m involved with the Yale Mock Trial Association and the Undergraduate Consulting Group. OIS was one of the happiest times of my time at Yale and I hope to help make OIS 2014 just as great!

Kasidet Manakongtreecheep

My name is Kasidet Manakongtreecheep, or you can call me Kas for short. I am a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards college (JE SUX!). I am planning to major in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology with a Neurobiology track. Although my Dad is Chinese, I am born and raised in Thailand. I then proceeded to spend my six years of high school in New Zealand, where I learn how to play rugby, shear sheep, do the haka (If you have never seen a haka, search it up on Youtube, it’s quite amazing) and celebrate Christmas with barbecue in the middle of summer! My favourite (ß see the proper way to spell English words) pastimes here at Yale are going to concerts and organizing fun cultural food events. I follow Manchester United football team and love reading manga and study the art of tea making!

Reina Mei

I'm a rising sophomore in Silliman College. My academic interests include economics, Spanish, and literature. I love flowers and squirrels. I've been involved in YHHAP this year and plan on joining the marching band next year. Feel free to ask me anything!

Ewurama Okai

Hello Class of 2018! My name is Ewurama Okai and I'm a rising Sophomore in Davenport College (yay!). I originally hail from Accra, Ghana but have lived in Hong Kong, South Africa and England. I am a prospective Global Affairs or Political Science major with a special interest in International Security. I'm also involved in the Yale African Students Association, the Yale College Council, the Intercultural Affairs Council, World Youth Economic Forum Conference and volunteer with New Haven Reach. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about those interests, any concerns you may have or if you just want to get to know someone (I'm nice!). Can't wait to meet you all!!!!!

Philile Shongwe

My name is Philile Shongwe and I'm from Swaziland. I'm a Sophomore in Morse - Morse is the best college because it always wins. I'm a Global Affairs major and also very interested in journalistic writing and photography. I love singing, and can usually been seen hanging out with the other members in my acapella group Asempa!, or eating at all the best Moroccan restaurants in New Haven. I love grabbing meals with people, learning new languages and talking about TV shows.

Stephani Siow

A native Singaporean, I fell in love with Yale years ago on a school trip (to Wisconsin but somehow we dropped by Connecticut.) At Yale, I quickly developed a passion for almost everything, including community service, global health and student government (she just organized the Freshman Olympics, which were awesome.) The AMAZING people I have met at Yale continue to inspire me. I love to visit new places. I have had opportunities to visit Jamaica for a service trip (spring break), backpack around central Europe (winter break - see photo), and will be in Japan soon (summer break.) I am happy spending my days (hopefully) making the world a better place, one person at a time, and is incredibly excited to welcome you to the international family at Yale.

Vince Soriano

I am a sophomore from the Philippines majoring in Economics. Born in Washington D.C., but raised in Hong Kong and Manila, I love exploring cultures around the world. I have travelled to over 20 countries around the world, and while I am fluent in English and Filipino, I am currently studying Chinese. A huge football fan (Arsenal FC!!!), I also love debating and investing. I am extremely excited to be an OIS counselor and can't wait to meet all of the amazing internationals next year!

Devansh Tandon

Hey Internationals! I'm Devansh, a sophomore in Berkeley from India. I grew up in Bombay, and then moved to Delhi for high school. After a crazy freshman year, I still don't know my major, but I'm considering CS/EP&E. I'm involved with Bulldog Bots - the robotics club at Yale, The Leadership Institute, Yale International Relations Association (YIRA) and the International Students Organization (ISO). I love the mountains, sherlock, reading, and most importantly, naps. Feel free to reach out to me to talk about anything at all, and especially international life at Yale.

Minh Tri Pham

Hey guys, I’m Minh and I come from the Czech Republic. My parents are Vietnamese, but I went to a German school in Prague. I am a programmer and designer and love working on useless (but super cool) projects. When I grow up, I want to become a tech entrepreneur, but right now I like watching Bayern Munich, learning new languages, drinking Pilsner Urquell, playing billiards, and betting on sports. Oh, and I still don’t know American football rules, Fahrenheits, pounds and other American idiosyncrasies.

Joseph Vinson

My name is Joseph Vinson and I am from London, UK and soon to be a Sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College. I have yet to declare my major but am strongly considering History. I had a great time at OIS last year and want to ensure you have the same exciting introduction to life at Yale. International students are renowned for getting involved in all that Yale has to offer. Outside of classes, my main commitments at Yale are YCC, our student government, and Yale TV, the broadcast section of the Yale Daily News. I look forward to meeting you all in August and I hope you enjoy OIS and your 4 years at Yale.

Azan Virji

Hey guys! My name is Azan Virji and I am from Mwanza, Tanzania. I am a freshman in Morse College and I plan to major in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Here at Yale, I am currently involved with the Yale College Council, the Ivy Council, the Yale Public Health Coalition, and the Yale Leadership Institute. My three favorite hobbies are: singing, swimming and sunbathing! I am very talkative and I love meeting new people. In my spare time, I love watching movies and TV Shows (especially The Big Bang Theory). I can’t wait to meet you guys... with lots of international love - Azan

Lia Weiner

Hello international babies. My name is Lia Weiner. I am a rising sophomore from Israel. I grew up in Tel Aviv and after graduating from high school I joined a top secret intelligence unit in the Israeli Defense Force for two mandatory years of service. So don’t mess with me. Just kidding. I am hoping (fingers crossed) to major in Ethics, Politics and Economics, and I basically love learning about everything I don’t already know, especially if the person who’s talking is excited about the subject. I am involved in TEDxYale, a few volunteer programs and I am in a sorority here at Yale. I am very excited to get you know all of you soon. See you at OIS!