International Accents

E.g., Saturday, August 29, 2015
E.g., Saturday, August 29, 2015

University of Iowa alumna Laura Semprini, 27, of Iowa City, IA and her husband Jason Semprini, 28, of Cedar Rapids, IA have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Semprinis will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport.

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In preparation for studying abroad, I was able to cross an item off of my bucket list: I got an international driving permit. It doesn’t matter as much if I actually use it, although that would be great, too. (After two days in the country, though, I’m already more than a little hesitant to get behind the wheel.) It’s just the fact that I could legally drive in Morocco if I really wanted to that is exciting.

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Jeno Singson graduated from the University of Iowa this spring with a degree in marketing. He was a recipient of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship for Study Abroad, which applied toward a yearlong program at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia. Identifying as not only Asian but also a member of the LGBT community, Jeno made it his personal goal to be a role model for other Asian LGBT minorities as well as people of color. The following is a reflection by Jeno on his time abroad.

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In an increasingly global society, biracial marriages are, for the most part, accepted. Because of the diversity within the United States, most Americans are accustomed to not only seeing, but interacting with biracial individuals. In my case, I traveled to a country where there are strict laws that hinder immigration and an overarching notion that the gene pool is pure and must not be diluted.

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The four century saga of knight-errant Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza will kick off the 2015-2016 season of the television, radio, and internet program WorldCanvass. Host Joan Kjaer and WorldCanvass guests will discuss the novel, the title character’s mark on artistic and public imagination, and fundamental questions raised by the work such as the relationship of fiction to reality, life to art, and the ‘ownership’ of an original creation. The public is invited to attend the WorldCanvass discussion at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City.

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I could dedicate much more than one blog to the process of going home, and the reverse culture shock that is often experienced upon returning. I went through a whirlwind of emotions during this time, each coming in different waves and phases. Having now been back in the States for a month, I would like to think I am finally fully adjusted to my old life. Yet, an old life that is so different. Over the past month, I have had a lot of time to think about my experiences, and would argue that returning home has nearly been as much of a learning process as my study abroad experience itself. Here is a list of my top 5 conclusions I have come to during my critical period of reflection

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Flooding – as humans often forget – is as natural as rain. While it has been historically common to settle on fertile floodplains to support agriculture, nature actually intended for floodplains to periodically flood, which can lead to widespread damage and even harm.

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The day I left Newcastle, Australia after 5 life-changing months, was truly one I will never forget. I had dreaded that day since the moment I stepped foot on campus in mid-February. While packing up all of my clothes and stuffing them back into the one suitcase I brought was definitely not enjoyable, and it was going through the souvenirs I had accumulated over the past few months that hit me the hardest...As I took what would now be my very last train from Newcastle to Sydney, I reminisced on those very moments, and began to prepare myself for what lay ahead… reuniting with my family in Sydney!

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China has about 100 million children learning English, and a pair of University of Iowa students have started a new business to help them. Western Wise started offering real-time English language tutoring services for children in China over the Internet in February and has today about 25 clients, nine tutors, and a total of 10 employees. The business, which is headquartered in the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL) student-owned business incubator, is owned by Emily Roberts, a senior majoring in Spanish and finance, and Chen Cui, a doctoral engineering student.

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The intent of those who planned and carried out the recent terrorist attack in Tunisia and the reactions to it, both underscore the idiosyncratic connections between economic development and terrorism.

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Delaney Nolan, an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, traveled to Istanbul on a Stanley Award. She researched topics such as gender, sexuality, and feminism within modern and historical Turkish society, which enabled her to write two short stories. She reflects on her research and the lively city of Istanbul in the following story.

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UI Study Abroad Diversity Ambassador Stephanie Cuddalore Priya is an accounting student at the Tippie College of Business, and a CIMBA spring 2015 alumna. She studied in the small Italian town, Paderno Del Grappa for 12 weeks, traveling to 10 different countries and experiencing self-discovery, adventure, and culture. In this letter to prospective students, she reflects on overcoming being a 'homebody' and how her multicultural background comes in handy while traveling.

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Jessica Lile, a UI undergraduate, received the Stanley award to conduct research for eight weeks on adolescent tobacco usage in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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Have you ever wanted to learn Chinese? Make this the year you get started! Students, adults, and children of any language level are invited to sign up for a variety of Chinese classes with the UI Confucius Institute during the 2015-16 academic year.

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University of Iowa has had a booth for years, often used as a recruiting center and Hawk Shop, but this display stands apart. For the first time, it was designed and constructed by UI 3D design students.

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'It’s not too uncommon for University of Iowa students who are studying abroad to leave temporarily or take a break due to an illness, injury or family emergency. But rarely do students cut short their experience and not return to their program in some capacity, according to UI International Programs.

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Now that the first step toward restoring the historical ties between the U.S. and Cuba has been taken, Americans are, once again, eager to experience Cuba. I would like to share a unique travel opportunity with the people of Iowa, and invite them on a trip that ties together my personal history, the island’s natural beauty, and the warmth, humor, and hospitality that characterizes our people. In another welcome turn of fate, Citizens Ambassadors Program in Washington state has invited me to lead a People-to-People delegation in early December 2015 (December 4-13).

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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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