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Hello, Salut, عسلامة

My name is Houssem Chammam, and I am an international student from Ariana, Tunisia. I’m currently a rising junior majoring in Political Science/International Relations, and minoring in Public Policy. On campus, I am strongly involved with OIIL (Office of Intercultural and International Life), Carleton DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), and the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. For this summer, I am working as an Admissions Fellow, which means that I give tours, conduct interviews, and also write these little blog posts. For my first post, I want to tell you a bit about how I, a Tunisian boy from a non-international school, ended up at Carleton — and more importantly, why I chose to go here.

How Carleton?

I first learned about Carleton rather randomly during my senior year of high school. One day in Tunisia I happened to run into the only Carleton alumna that works in my country. She told me that she studied abroad in Morocco with Carleton, and she loved it so much that she chose to come back to North Africa and get a job there. A few weeks later she invited me to meet the Treasurer of Carleton who happened to be visiting the country touristically, and from there my love for the school started.

Why Carleton?

First, and most importantly for me, Carleton offered me the most financial aid. Beyond that, I came to the U.S. looking for an academically rigorous school, but without the elite and pretentious culture that top schools usually suffer from, and Carleton fit that criteria more than I’ve known. Here, People are not concerned with appearing smarter or more interesting than you. Even though everyone is amazingly accomplished here, students don’t wear their accomplishments on their sleeves. I would describe our culture as cooperative, intellectually and academically curious, and definitely quirky. I love it! 


Houssem has been political at Carleton since his first day. Besides joining the student government (CSA) and the Carleton Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), he is looking forward to start the Bernie campaign on campus next year. Besides politics, as an international student he also greatly enjoys working with the Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL) to foster greater diversity and inclusion on campus.