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.
While studying abroad in Chile, Samantha Sidwell first connected with people through music.
Sidwell, a 2011 UI graduate, was placed in a host family full of musicians and quickly became involved in music locally by playing cello in an orquestra at her university and taking lessons from a Chilean instructor.
“Music was a great way for me to connect to my family,” Sidwell said. “I couldn’t necessarily speak that well right when I got there, especially because Chilean is very hard to understand at first. So one of the ways for me to connect was just to play.”