Thanks to the support of generous private donors, these UI students were able to study or conduct research abroad in the past year, gaining invaluable experiences and memories that enhanced their education and lives.
Earlier this month, Chile’s soon-to-be president, Michelle Bachelet, selected University of Iowa alum Marcelo Mena-Carrasco to serve as the country’s undersecretary of the environment. His recent efforts to improve the nation’s air quality played a major role in his selection for the post.
During International Education Week (November 11-15), it is particularly important to emphasize the importance and wide range of the connections between Iowa and the world. Each year, hundreds of UI students go abroad to study for a few weeks, a semester, or a year. Faculty and staff interact daily with colleagues around the world to collaborate on critical research. And international students come to our campus for a world-class education, some staying in the U.S. after receiving their degrees to start businesses and create jobs, and some returning to their home countries to become leaders in science, business, industry, education and government.
Imagine that you live near a smog-filled city of six million people where, despite the best pollution prevention and forecasting efforts by city officials, residents often are mistakenly told to remain indoors on clear days and advised to go outdoors when the air is polluted. Some of us likely would stay put and endure the conditions, while others would move away to a different city. But UI alumnus Marcelo Mena-Carrasco chose a different path—he joined forces with UI colleagues as well as officials of the city of Santiago, Chile, to implement a dramatically improved pollution-forecasting model for the city of Santiago.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a 90 second video worth? UI students submitted videos from their study abroad experiences for a chance to win cash prizes in a new video contest this year -- “Uncharted Territories.”
While studying abroad in Chile, Samantha Sidwell first connected with people through music.
Sidwell, a 2011 UI graduate, was placed in a host family full of musicians and quickly became involved in music locally by playing cello in an orquestra at her university and taking lessons from a Chilean instructor.
“Music was a great way for me to connect to my family,” Sidwell said. “I couldn’t necessarily speak that well right when I got there, especially because Chilean is very hard to understand at first. So one of the ways for me to connect was just to play.”