As of 2010, Arabic has become the 10th most spoken language in America, a trend that has not gone unfelt by the University of Iowa. Because of a substantial increase in the number of students studying Arabic, the UI now seeks to hire an additional teacher.
The cultural segregation between Chinese and domestic students is one of the emerging issues and tensions that both international students and their domestic counterparts are facing on an increasingly diverse UI campus. In hopes of addressing those issues and identifying others, the UI Center for Asian and Pacific Studies next week will lead a first-ever U.S.-China student workshop on the undergraduate experience at Iowa.
The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, allows both the country I’m from (China) and the country I currently live in (United States) to compete against each other in many different sports. But outside of this event, I have learned from personal experience the differences between Chinese and American sports.
Suyun Ma, who was recently hired as UI International Programs’ first external global relations coordinator, uses Chinese social media platforms to communicate and cultivate stronger relationships with prospective Chinese students and their parents as well as UI’s growing alumni base in Asia.
Those drawn to the sun and romance of Western Europe form the brunt of the rise in the number of students who study abroad, while Eastern Europe and Asia remain out of reach for many. According to a statistics from University of Iowa International Programs, the number of students who study abroad jumped from 1,084 in 2007-08 to 1,351 in 2011-12, the last year for which numbers are available.
A group of educational leaders from various Japanese universities is visiting the University of Iowa to discuss Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative and garner strategies and tactics to develop a STEM program in Japan.
UI alumna Jacqueline Klein, who received her Ph.D. from the College of Education in 2007, left a job as director of academic advising and learning development at NYU’s College of Nursing in New York to be part of the new endeavor. She is now assistant dean of academic and global affairs at NYU Shanghai.
UI senior Yikun Chen hails from Beijing. While snow isn’t a new experience for the accounting major, Iowa weather’s deadly combination of snow and bitter cold has been less than inviting. “It just feels like a thousand needles punching me in the face,” Chen said. “I enjoy the snow, but I don’t enjoy the cold.
Before I came to the United States, I hadn't experienced the freezing cold temperatures as I recently have at Iowa. When I go outside, I have to wear three tops, three trousers, and even very thick socks to make sure I stay warm. During my three and a half years here, I've gradually become comfortable with the severe weather conditions. But in China, the weather is completely different, so it's taken a lot to get used to Iowa.
When Katrina Korb uses a PowerPoint presentation in her University of Jos classroom, she brings her own projector and a small generator. This is just one of the differences between teaching at a U.S. institution and teaching in Nigeria. “The Nigerian university system faces many challenges, some of which are based on the lack of infrastructure that Nigeria faces as a whole,” Korb says. “One key example is irregular electricity.”
The basis of a future anti-cancer drug could be found in a sponge from more than 1,600 feet under the sea and the bulb of an African flower. Zhendong Jin, a University of Iowa associate professor of medicinal and natural products chemistry, replicates the anti-cancer compounds found in Côte d’Ivoire and a sea sponge to, hopefully, find the most affective cancer drug available.
Tucked away in a corner room in Halsey Hall, a small group of students is busy rehearsing through the afternoon. Not an unusual sight for the building, which plays host to many dance rehearsals, but it seems doubtful anyone else in the building would practice a shadow dance and plan the details of a lion dance. It's also fairly safe to assume the five students are the only ones dancing to Vietnamese pop music, complete with Vietnamese lyrics. The students are members of the Vietnamese Student Association, and they are preparing for the Lunar New Year — Tet, the New Year's holiday based on the Lunar Calendar. The holiday will be observed Friday.
The Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese holiday. The exact date depends on the traditional Chinese calendar — the Lunar Calendar, Nong Li — which was set by the 24 Solar Terms. These Terms help farmers know when it is best to plant their corps. The Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.
As the number of international students attending the University of Iowa continues to grow, officials are offering a new program to help students integrate to Iowa and the United States comfortably. Starting next fall, incoming international students will have not only a three-day orientation, but for the first half of the semester, they will take an online course, and the second half of the semester, they will meet with mentors to help get better integrated at the university.
This winter break, I was able to change some of my original opinions about the United States through a month of traveling. I had the chance to visit many places on the East Coast and spend time with my friends. First, Christmas was not what I imagined. I found there was almost no one on the streets, and it was even difficult to find an open restaurant, bar, or anywhere to stay during the night.