Blending in: Son of Paraguayan president striving for a normal college experience


Students all across campus strive to stand out from the sea of purple that floods Kansas State. For international student Mario Abdo, that is not the case — he aims to blend in with K-State’s student population as much as possible, he said.

Many people from Kansas may not be familiar with his name, but the country of Paraguay is. His father, Mario Abdo Benítez, is the sitting president of Paraguay.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Abdo is a sophomore in marketing. Abdo said, in coming to K-State, he hopes to be a normal student.

“I really like to keep it discreet,” Abdo said. “I don’t really like people to know about it unless they are my close friends.”

Before moving to Manhattan, Abdo lived in the nation’s capital Asunción, which he said differs a lot from small-town life in the Little Apple.

“I think it’s perfect for studying abroad,” he said. “There’s not much distraction here and you can really focus on your studies and I find people really friendly.”

When Abdo is not studying, he said is with his friends. Two of his friends, Pablo Gonzalez, junior in agribusiness, and Zamir Venica, sophomore in biological systems, are also from Paraguay. Together they said they do typical college student activities, like playing video games and playing soccer at Memorial Stadium.

Gonzalez said when he’s with Abdo, he doesn’t view him differently because of his father.

“He is just like any other friend,” Gonzalez said. “Whenever I talk to him I don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m talking to the president’s son.’ [Abdo] is very humble, especially with his father being the actual president of Paraguay, which is a big thing.”

“I love him,” Venica said. “First semester we lived together and he is such a kind person.”

After graduating from K-State, Abdo said he plans to attend a graduate program in Europe. He said that through travel and different experiences, he is able to gain a lot of knowledge.

“Every day I am learning new things,” he said. “I plan to go back home to Paraguay and help my country in any way that I can.”