2014

When in Rome: Exploring Italia

Well, I’ve passed the halfway mark and I am officially in panic mode. I finished my first class, took the final, got to spend ten days with my mom while she visited, have started class #2, and now only have 23 days left of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I feel like a broken record… but WHERE is the time going? Cheesy, but time really does fly when you’re having fun. Here's a summary of my trip through Florence, Rome, and the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany.

Top 10 tips for a successful study abroad

Though I certainly do feel little pangs of sadness when reminiscing on my favorite UK memories, I can definitely say I have gained a stronger appreciation for my life here in the states as well. For my final entry, I’ve decided to compile a “top 10” list of tips and things I’ve learned, so that whoever’s reading might have some fresh advice on how to have a successful study abroad experience...

Nature, summer sun, and fun in Scandinavia

It’s midnight in the north of Sweden, just below the Arctic Circle, and I can’t fall asleep. It’s not because I’m anxious or had one too many cups of coffee (which is often the case) but because the sun never sets! Most homes and hotels have blackout blinds or curtains, but my current home, a tent, doesn’t. I decided, after a few restless nights, that I should buy a sleep mask. In the end, I have to admit, camping in the beautiful nature that surrounds me is well worth the lackluster quality of sleep I’ve had.

UI alum's "My Dear Americans" selected for PBS Online Film Festival

An overly excited husband tries to cheer up his wife as they prepare to celebrate Fourth of July in their brand new home – complete with matching American flag T-shirts; but as the Indian-American couple adjust to life in the ‘burbs they are soon exposed to local ignorance and prejudice that threatens to dampen their spirits.

Joel and Sandra Barkan Honored with Distinguished Alumni Award

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.

Gasques, Singing, and Nations, Oh My!

Cocktail dresses, traditional Swedish drinking songs, and four course dinners are three things I didn’t expect to experience during my semester abroad, but ended up being a highlight of my time in Sweden. Through the thirteen student nations of Uppsala University, I was able to attend Gasques, hang out in pubs with fellow students, and grab lunch at a student discount in one of two universities in all of Sweden that offer these activities and events through student run nations.

No-Longer-A-Tourist Status

I finally feel like I have the hang of getting around here. I also have come strides in what I know now and what I knew when I first came. The research projects I have been doing are definitely widening my knowledge about global health. I also had the opportunity to observe a mitral valve replacement surgery this week.

A trip down The Garden Route in South Africa

We had a three-day weekend here in SA because of the national holiday called Youth Day being commemorated Monday. Due to this my friends and I decided to pack up and head out to see the scenic Garden Route. This, by definition, is the beautiful stretch on the southeastern coast of South Africa. It hails numerous stunning towns and countless attractions all along the way. By 6:15 a.m. Saturday, we were on the road heading towards our next adventure!

Live, love, lead: lessons from Italia

Three words that are so simple, that we hear every day, yet in this context were so true and impactful. “Live; everyone needs to live all of life’s abundance, take full advantage everything it has to offer. Love; do I need to really explain that one? Lead; lead others through life the way you know is good, because everybody needs to understand and be understood, and forgive and be forgiven.” This little phrase has stuck with me since last week, and it will be how I look at the rest of my time here in Italy. I now realize more than ever that I will be leaving this beautiful place in the blink of an eye, and the only way to make the most of it is to live, love, and lead.

A Swedish Fika!

When I first stepped off the plane in Sweden I was told two very important things. First, that I would need a warmer coat. Second, that we were going to have a Fika. Due to my Scandinavian heritage, I had learned about the Swedish, social institution of having a daily Fika (or many), but I highly underestimated how important this phenomenon would be to my daily routine.

The city run by biomass- a look at sustainability in the Czech Republic

Today I finished my Responding to Climate Change course. I took a final exam, turned in an 8-page paper and presented on the paper with PowerPoint. Whew. All done. When I passed around Belgium waffle cookies and chocolate crisps after we (all 2 of us students) turned everything in and completed our presentations, the professor said, “I hope this is not corruption.”