International Accents

E.g., Friday, March 6, 2015
E.g., Friday, March 6, 2015

Alec Bramel, 22, of Holy Cross, Iowa, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Bramel will make a difference working with his community to identify resources and agriculture projects that can be developed and implemented to generate income. He will also facilitate training in farm management and work with schools to enhance and expand environmental education.

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A European study of the effects of study abroad on employability shows that experiences abroad enhance skills such as acceptance of unfamiliar cultures and attitudes, openness and adaptability, awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, ability to make decisions, and ability to solve problems.

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A reception hosted by The African Studies Program for musicians of The Nile Project will be held on Tuesday March 10, 2015 from 4:30-7:00, at UCC 2780.

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Nicky Fish, 23, of Oak Park, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Indonesia March 14 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Fish will make a difference teaching basic to intermediate English and providing enrichment learning opportunities through extracurricular and non-formal community activities.

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In Morocco, they take it easy. As soon as my plane lands in Rabat, I can feel the change. The other passengers do not push against each other to stand in the aisle. They take their time gathering backpacks and briefcases from the overhead compartments. My flight is late, but that’s no problem. IES Abroad’s driver is just arriving to take me to the Center, where the other students are. I don’t know much Darija (the local dialect) yet, and he doesn’t know English. We smile at each other. It’s not uncomfortable.

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I have been at the University of Newcastle, in New South Wales, Australia for nearly three weeks already, and yet I continue to wake up most mornings in awe that this is actually my life. I prepared for this journey for quite some time; making and saving money, meeting deadlines for paperwork, and doing lots of research. To finally be here, literally on the other side of the world, can at times be hard to grasp.

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We are now living in the “Anthropocene” (pronounced AN-thruh-puh-seen), the literal definition of which is the “New Age (cene) of Humans (anthropos).” For many people, the notion that we are living in the age of humans might be unremarkably self-evident. But the concept of the Anthropocene challenges us to consider how humans have become the dominant agent of change on Earth. The upcoming Obermann Humanities Symposium at the University of Iowa, March 5-7, “Energy Cultures in the Age of the Anthropocene,” will showcase innovative thinking about how to conceptualize and deal with the large-scale human alterations of environments and ecosystems that have given a new name to the age in which we live.

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If you are reading this letter, you may be pondering the idea of studying abroad and trying to decide whether it is something you should do. As a senior in my last year in the College of Education, I debated the idea for many reasons, but the biggest one being the cost. See, my original goal coming out of high school and soon to be first generation college student was to go to college and excel in my academics in order to achieve greatness, but never was it in my plan to study abroad.

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Studying abroad in college was something I had always wanted to do since I was a very young age and last semester I finally got the opportunity to do so. I wanted to go to a country where I could utilize my Spanish but I did not want to go to Spain. So I spent my fall semester in Heredia, Costa Rica.

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Some international students working in dining halls or convenience stores are there for one primary reason, and it’s not for the paycheck. They are after a Social Security number.

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The March 3 WorldCanvass program will be part of a three-day interdisciplinary Obermann Center symposium on the Anthropocene which will examine how humans have shaped our present energy culture and what other energy cultures are possible. Four keynote speakers will tackle this question from very different angles.

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On my third day in Spain, I learned about the expert pickpockets of Madrid. It wasn’t simply through Ibon’s sound advice to get a money belt or to sling packs in front of our bodies where we could see them. No, I had to learn the hard way. I’m blaming it on the fact that I’m from a town where we don’t even lock our bikes. I implicitly trust everybody. However, belief rarely lines up with reality and in less than a week abroad I found myself wallet-free. Still, I’m optimistic that not every lesson that day was lost on me. Before I was so swiftly and silently robbed, I absorbed some stories about Spain’s long and complicated history, which, on more than one occasion, involved miracles.

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In this special by Daily Iowan TV, reporters interview attendees of the annual UI Confucius Institute Chinese New Year Celebrations. This year's event was held on Friday, February 20 in 1117 UCC and was organized by the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Program in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

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My first experience abroad was in Spain during winter break of my freshman year. While this was an enlightening experience, it was not so different from my own culture. Traveling to India, however, I was excited to explore those cultural and social differences. Starting with the sheer amount of people on the streets of Chennai, the town I flew into, I knew the YouTube travel videos I’d watched in preparation were not exaggerating.

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On February 3, 2015, Joan Kjaer and her WorldCanvass guests discussed the the complicated and controversial issues surrounding the legality and use of tobacco and marijuana with a special focus on the tension between personal liberty and the public good. This is a "ReCap" of the event with access to see and hear the full program.

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A group of about 20 students arrived at the Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí in Havana close to midnight on Sunday, December 28th. That very next morning, classes started for the January, 2015 USAC Cuba program. Despite the late arrival and few hours of sleep, students were eager to climb up the marble staircase at Casa Africa in Old Havana for the first day of class. As a visiting professor, I, too, felt the rush of excitement that comes from that first meeting with students.

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Some University of Iowa students will soon “hijab-it-up,” break a “fastathon” with crêpes, and pass out flowers of faith. This week, the UI Muslim Student Association will host its first Islam Awareness Week, a series of events designed to raise awareness and understanding of Islam on campus.

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University of Iowa students are participating in more summer and winter study-abroad programs in order to participate in more than just class. In the 2012-13 school year, 62 percent of UI students participated in study, work, internships, or volunteering during summer or winter sessions — as opposed to 55 percent just three years ago.

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Fewer students are enrolling in foreign-language university courses nationally, a study says, but the University of Iowa is not following the trend. According to a survey conducted by the Modern Language Association, there has been a 6 percent decrease in aggregate enrollments. At the UI, however, enrollment numbers have stayed consistent.

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The Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies Program (CDA) will host a lecture with Shona N. Jackson titled "Involuntary Settlers, Voluntary Colonials: the Contingent Nature of Subaltern Freedoms in the Caribbean" on Wednesday, March 4 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in 315 Phillips Hall.

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Spring Festival — or Chinese New Year — is one of the most important holidays for many Chinese students. Because it occurs during the semester, many say they’ll miss celebrating with their family. University of Iowa senior Yan Sun said she hasn’t celebrated the Spring Festival with her parents for three years.

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International students at the University of Iowa are increasingly choosing yet another place to study abroad. From summer 2014 to the spring semester of 2015, 55 UI international students went abroad, either to study or to participate in work, internships, or volunteering. This number is up 22 students from the prior year.

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When a parent of a child with autism in China attempts to take his or her child to a public school, chances are they’ll be turned away. The UI's Youjia Hua and two other faculty members from other institutions have created the first-ever course sequence training Chinese educators and parents to be Assistant Behavior Analysts (ABA) certified. It's a systematic way of approaching students with disabilities. “There is a law in China that every child has a right to an education, but it’s a toothless tiger — no one enforces it.”

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Host Joan Kjaer and her guests on the next WorldCanvass will explore the age of the Anthropocene through the lens of energy, investigating the global environmental transformation effected by humans’ astonishing technological achievements in the search for greater creature comfort. WorldCanvass begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, at FilmScene, 118 East College Street. Admission is free and open to the public.

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Hunter Sharpless, originally from Dallas, TX, graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a degree in English-Literature. While at the UI, Hunter studied abroad on the USAC program in Turin, Italy, in 2011. Currently, he is a MFA candidate in nonfiction writing as well as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. Read on to learn how Hunter's time abroad enhanced his calling as a writer, as well as how to make the most of your experiences in a new country.

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