International Accents

E.g., Monday, July 27, 2015
E.g., Monday, July 27, 2015

Kali Slaymaker is a first-generation college student who will earn her degree in marketing from the University of Iowa in 2016 after just three years of study. Kali was a 2015 recipient of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship for Study Abroad which she applied toward a summer program with CIMBA in Paderno Del Grappa, Italy during summer 2015. The following is a reflection by Kali on her time abroad.

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More than 400 incoming freshmen, their parents, and alumni joined UI faculty and staff in early July for pre-departure orientation sessions in Beijing and Shanghai, China. This was the third year of on-site orientation sessions and the largest group of attendees to date. Attendees heard orientation presentations from UI staff, personal reflections on life at Iowa from panels of UI students and alumni, and had the opportunity to ask their own questions during a Q&A and two reception events.

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They hail from as far away as Estonia, the Gaza Strip, the Côte d ’Ivoire and as near as Iowa City, but Monday, they were all gathered in one room to discuss human rights. Local and international activists gathered for a forum on human rights at the University Capitol Center, held by the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC).

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Kali Peschel was able to do everything she planned during her six-week study abroad trip to Spain this summer. Peschel immersed herself in the foreign culture, she experienced a different way of life and took in the sights during her stay in the town of Valladolid. The Iowa senior also got to do something she never expected during stay in Spain — she got to play a little basketball.

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In the upcoming years, students will be able to get an up-close view of Cuba as never before. In December 2014, President Obama announced the loosening of trade and travel restrictions with Cuba, which took effect on Jan. 16. This makes visiting Cuba much easier for Americans than in the last 54 years.

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"The time has come for me to say goodbye to the University of Iowa where for 12 years, I had the opportunity to explore a tiny tributary of the might river of knowledge. With the exception of my village in Africa, Iowa has probably shaped my life more than any other place I have called home." As he moves on to new places, International Programs faculty fellow Leo Eko reflects on the special place one small Iowa town holds in his heart.

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Naomi Jackson knows better than anyone that Iowa City and Barbados don’t have a lot in common. Born to West Indian parents and graduating from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Jackson has spent a great deal of time in both locations. Despite a disparity in similarity, the confluence of the two led to Jackson’s Barbados-based debut novel, “The Star Side of Bird Hill.” You can hear Naomi read from her novel at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City on July 20.

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International education organizations are taking notice of Iowa's efforts to attract larger and more diverse student bodies by recruiting and responding to prospective international students. A recent report, "Through Student Eyes," ranked Iowa as the No. 5 state in the nation in terms of communicating and serving prospective international students online. The report — produced by the online comparison tool StudyPortals in collaboration with the British Council, a British educational organization — looked at the top 1,000 universities worldwide and ranked the schools' responsiveness to prospective international students online through a mystery shopper exercise. Iowa scored 60.70 out of 100 points in the survey, ranking behind Washington, Michigan, Missouri and Oregon.

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Two weeks in China wasn’t enough for Brooke Mertins, a junior majoring in marketing and human resource management at Tippie, who decided to stay for an extra week to fully immerse herself in Chinese culture.

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Professors at the University of Iowa are seeing more Chinese students in their classrooms, so they’re taking extra steps to make them feel comfortable. This program pairs Chinese-speaking student tutors with faculty and staff in one-on-one sessions at the beginning of every semester.

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Nearly 20 female participants in Manama, Bahrain, and Amman, Jordan, took part in a distance-learning course offered this past spring by the UI's International Writing Program. The course focused on issues of artistic identity while fostering the participants’ authorial voices and building a community of women writers through weekly live video sessions.

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Soon, high-school students from Iowa might be able to trade places with those in Japan. Kim Heidemann, the executive director of Iowa Sister States, is in Yamanashi, Japan, to discuss the possibility of a high-school student exchange program beginning in the spring of 2016. Iowa Sister States is a nonprofit organization that promotes programs between Iowa and various “sister states” to foster positive international relationships. These sister states include Yamanashi, Kosovo, and Hebei, China, among many others, and programs range from economic trade to education. “These relationships help give students and professors new opportunities to meet people from another culture and exchange ideas,” said Kassi Wheeler, the international-program manager for Iowa Sister States.

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CPH researchers are working with residents of Chuuk, an island state in the pacific, to develop culturally appropriate strategies to improve nutrition.

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CPH faculty member Kelly Baker studies the cascade of health issues connected to water, sanitation, and hygiene

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David (Hosin) Lee, an International Programs Faculty Fellow, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and public policy at the University of Iowa. Lee also serves as the director of the Laboratory for Advanced Construction Technology center (LACT). Lee coordinated a delegation visit of two Korean congressmen in March 2015, one of whom was recently elected minority leader in the Korean congress. In the following article, Lee recounts their visit to Iowa.

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Since I have been traveling around Australia, I have met quite a few people who enjoy traveling on their own. I am not one of these people, although for many reasons, I wish I was.

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Joan Kjaer and her guests closed the 2015 WorldCanvass season on Tuesday, May 5 with a fascinating look at the transformational power of cinema and its unique ability to inspire, provoke, and challenge preconceptions. WorldCanvass guests discussed how cultures are explored and projected through film and shared their own international experiences that have either reinforced or contradicted cinematic representations. Catch the whole show in audio and video form in this ReCap.

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When I started college, I had every intention of studying in France. That is, however, until my first visit to Iowa’s Study Abroad office. I found, while sitting at a small round table, surrounded by dozens of brochures for both French programs and English programs, a thick blue booklet. The words University of East Anglia were written in big white letters across the cover. Once I saw this cover, my search was over.

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With rising interest in Chinese and South Korean studies, many universities across the U.S. fear waning enrollment in Japanese studies. The UI, however, has managed to buck the trend, with Japanese studies enrollment numbers on the rise the past 3 years.

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The United Kingdom is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I’ve been living and travelling in the UK for almost five months now as a study abroad student at the University of East Anglia, and I have accumulated a list of my favorite places in the UK that I think everyone should try to visit.

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Joan Kjaer and her guest panelists kicked off the 2015 Provost's Global Forum with a WorldCanvass program on the conference's topic, the Arab Spring in a global context, on April 28, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City. Below is a recap of the event with access to see and hear the full program.

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There is really no right or wrong way for going about the study abroad experience. Everyone here has come on different circumstances, with different likes, dislikes, goals, and dreams. It is important that each person’s journey reflect these differences, differences that make us who we are. This has been one of the most significant lessons I have learned here, and one that not only applies to being abroad, but also life in general.

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This year, the African Studies Program awarded the Rex D. Honey Lectureship award to Dr. Sandra Barkan, a program officer at Meridian International Center, Washington D.C. Barkan creates cultural diplomacy programs for participants in the United States Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). These programs are for visitors who come from all over the world, including Africa. Dr. Barkan announced that she had decided to donate the $1,000 honorarium that came with the Honey Lectureship Award to the University of Iowa Libraries for the purchase of African Studies materials.

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A few weeks ago, my eyes and my heart were opened to the extraordinary people and culture of Cuba. At unexpected moments at home in Iowa, I once again see Havana’s brilliant blue sea and sky, hear the music and conversation in the streets, smile at the flashing memory of an unforgettable meal, and recall the lipstick-colored almendrones (old American cars) whizzing by. As a sensual experience, for me, Havana’s beauty, charm, and historical character are rivaled only by Rome.

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This year’s 13 UI recipients represents a 63 percent increase over the institution’s eight grant recipients last year, when it ranked 45th among peer institutions in number of Fulbright awards.

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