What would it be like to have an indelible memory, so that every detail of existence was instantly inscribed in the brain? Imagine being able to remember every day of your life, every dream, every slight, every spoken word. Cultural memory is the intriguing subject of Friday night’s WorldCanvass program at the University of Iowa. Join us at 5 p.m. Friday in the Senate Chamber of Old Capitol Museum.
This winter break will be different for me — it will be the first time I’ll spend it in the United States. Because of this, I suddenly realized it would also be my first American Christmas, and I have no idea what to expect. In China, we also celebrate Christmas but not like how most Americans celebrate.
Social networks play a large role in the life of a college student. For me specifically, I have found my kindergarten friends through Chinese social networks, researched information on universities through Twitter, and even found an apartment through Facebook. On American social networks, people can say what they want and share opinions on various topics without being constrained. But in China, not all words can be said because the government controls our freedom of speech.
In 1885, Jin Yunmei, a young woman from China, received her medical degree from the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, becoming the first female Chinese on record to have a U.S. education. It was a time when few Chinese men had the opportunity to study abroad, while the overwhelming majority of women remained uneducated. China is now the world’s second largest economy. Its students now count for the largest population of international students in America. Plus, there are far more Chinese females on U.S. campuses.
Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break? Did you eat well, rest well, and study well? For most American students, it seemed as if all of you went back home to your families to enjoy the annual feast, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and delicious pies. But most international students, including me, prefer to travel around the United States, even some of the world, because a 12-hour flight back home is kind of expensive.
Innovation has been a hallmark of American education since at least the time of Thomas Jefferson. The nature of that education, including who had access to it, has changed significantly during the last two centuries and continues to evolve today. The definition and achievement of educational excellence in higher education is on the cusp of potentially dramatic transformation, and the University of Iowa has become a leader in creating and assessing a number of innovative approaches to undergraduate teaching and learning.
My initial impression of American fashion came from the television show “Gossip Girl.” I used to watch the series during high school when I was in China, and I was immediately attracted to the fashion. I thought everyone in the U.S. would dress this way and that fashion was everywhere. But when I arrived here, the fashion wasn’t exactly what I dreamed. I was disappointed by what I observed because fashion is, in fact, not everywhere. Instead, it is full of casual shirts, sweatpants, and slippers. As I’ve gradually begun to experience more of the United States, my mind has changed toward fashion, especially when comparing it with China.
China has more than 5,000 years of history. Because of this, there is a lot of cultural heritage. An example of this is the four main classical novels about Chinese history. Journey to the West, which some Americans refer to as "monkey," was created by Wu ChenEn in the Ming Dynasty. The other three novels are Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chamber, and Water Margin. All four books are regarded as "must-haves" for Chinese children.
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.
In ancient China, marriage is always fixed by your parents. Normally, it takes six etiquettes to become a legal couple. The first stage is to propose. The boy’s family needs to invite a matchmaker (In Chinese, meipo) to propose the marriage to the girl’s family. Once it’s a successful match, the dual families need to give presents to show their gratitude toward the matchmaker. Before this, the boy and girl have not seen each other.
Americans are not the only ones excited about Halloween today. I know I speak for Chinese students when I say many of us are really looking forward to the evening's festivities. My friends and I want to carve our own "jack-o'-lantern," dress up, and attend parties.
Citizen diplomacy may well be our state’s most valuable export. For more than 50 years, Iowa has been front and center in volunteer, people-to-people diplomacy through our long tradition of Sister State relationships. Sister State exchanges bring the world to our doorstep and have helped Iowa build deep and lasting friendships throughout the world, resulting in greater cooperation and trade.
Page. Pitch. Peach. Three words, three very different meanings. But do you think I can pronounce them very well? Let’s just say it took a lot of practice — and I’m still having trouble with the middle one. I’m told that Americans don’t have the same trouble with these words. But for a Chinese speaker such as me, the vowels prove to be very difficult.
What I have learned living in Iowa is that no matter where you live, geography does not affect your musical taste. My older cousin Sizhao Wang, living in Xi’an, China, is an example of this. The 24 year-old has a bedroom full of posters of Usher. He has every CD, knows every song, and even took an airplane to see the live concert held in Beijing several years ago. But being 8,000 miles away means he has to wait a couple months to buy the CD, he can’t go to a concert very often, and he can’t buy a celebrity magazine to read the gossip. Yet with all these obstacles, my cousin still loves Usher.
In this three-part series for The Daily Iowan, UI international student from China Lu Shen shares her reflections on being an international student at the University of Iowa and in Iowa City.