On June 7th, the University’s Alumni Association presented Sandra Barkan, formerly associate dean of the Graduate College, and her late husband, Professor Joel Barkan, with its Distinguished Alumni Award for their contribution to international studies at Iowa. In accepting the award, Sandra explained why she and her husband regarded international studies of such great importance and described the establishment of the University’s Center for International and Comparative Studies, forerunner to today’s International Programs. Following is a summary of her observations.
About 700 first-time international students came to Iowa City this fall, bringing the international student total to about 3,700. These students represent 111 countries and are a part of every field of academic study available at UI.
For these students, making the move to Iowa City can be nerve-racking, exciting and, at times, a downright daunting experience. For 41 years, the University of Iowa Friends of International Students has worked to make the transition to America easier by connecting international students with members of the Iowa City community — called friends — to help the students feel more comfortable away from home and introduce them to American culture and customs.