From left, Ariana, President Struppa, and Athena.

StoryCorps: Finding French Fries and a New Home in America Chapman University's Daniele Struppa recounts grad student days in StoryCorps interview.

It’s no secret that Chapman University President Daniele Struppa is an Italian-transplant, hailing from Milan. What the Chapman community may not know is that Struppa had an interesting, and sometimes humorous, experience adjusting to the American way of life when he moved to the U.S. in the 1970s.

Struppa shared his story with his daughters, Arianna and Athena, through Stories From the OC, a StoryCorps app experience at FivePoint, Irvine.

From left, Arianna, Athena and Daniele Struppa
From left, Arianna, Athena and Daniele Struppa.

As a 23-year-old in a brand-new country, everything was an adjustment for Struppa:

Struppa: “Everything was so different— the food was different, I didn’t speak any English, I couldn’t even order at a McDonald’s …”

Athena: “French fries?”

Struppa: “I didn’t know that ‘French fries’ are called ‘French fries!’ It took me a long time to finally say ‘potatoes,’ and the lady was smart enough to figure out I wanted French fries.”

Listen to Struppa’s story by clicking below.

For the full-length interview, click on the link below to listen.

Open for recording now through December 31, Stories From the OC invites Chapman community members to share their stories. This app-based experience preserves stories digitally with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

Stephanie House