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.
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.
Anna Kolpakova has turned baking into a hobby since she moved to Iowa City in June with her Czech husband David Pisa, who is completing postdoctoral research in physics at the University of Iowa. She spends at least one afternoon a week making cakes, having started baking “just for fun” and to alleviate boredom, she said. The boredom comes with her status as the dependent of a visiting scholar, and other temporary Iowans at the state’s public universities are dealing the same problem.
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.
Bridges International will host a Christmas party for all UI students on Friday at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center to introduce American traditions to all who attend. The group is part of Iowa City for Campus Crusade for Christ’s international ministry.
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.
University of Iowa junior Xinran Gu hasn’t spent time with her parents since June, and the idea of seeing them over winter break helps her push through finals week. “I feel very excited because they have never traveled to America, and this will be their first time,” she said. “They have a lot of questions … and they want to explore more.”
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.
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.
The United States has seen a rapid increase in the number of graduate students from India, according to a recent study, and the University of Iowa fits right in, though officials believe there’s more that can be done recruiting Indians to Iowa City.
Studying abroad, both to the United States and overseas, has increased nationally and locally — which some University of Iowa officials say is due to a more interconnected world. “The world is getting smaller,” said Georgina Dodge, the UI chief diversity officer and an associate vice president. “It is becoming easier to travel abroad … [and more] information has traveled between countries.”
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.
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.
The University of Iowa will join over 100 countries worldwide to celebrate international education and exchange in observance of International Education Week 2013, a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education. The public is invited to attend several lectures, workshops, information sessions, and other educational and social events Friday, Nov. 8 through Friday, Nov. 15 as part of this annual UI tradition.
Halloween’s novel activities of pumpkin carving, dressing in costume, and eating candy corn are tradition to most students at the University of Iowa. These traditions are now also being shared with international students at the university in attempt to better incorporate them into Iowa culture. Life in Iowa, an ongoing orientation program sponsored by the UI International Student and Scholar Services, put on a pumpkin carving event Thursday night for International students.