International Accents

E.g., Tuesday, June 23, 2015
E.g., Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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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Two young professionals from Southeast Asia will spend May in Iowa City as part of a cultural-exchange program started by President Obama.

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According to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s most recent report on the Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars and Students, the UI has risen from 128th to 45th in the number of Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for 2014–15 among its peer institutions.

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Thirteen University of Iowa students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research, attend graduate school, undertake creative projects, or serve as English teaching assistants abroad in 2015–16. This year's recipients are: Brett Burk, Douglas Baker, Julia Cartwright, Daniel Goering, Quinn Hejlik, Clare Jones, Julia Julstrom-Agoyo, Sarah Mayer, Acacia Roberts, Steph Rue, Beatrice Smigasiewicz, Gloria Wenman, and Audrey Williams.

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One of the most interesting, and eye-opening, parts of the study abroad experience is being able to view the United States from the lens of a different country. Just two short months before I left for Australia, the Sydney hostage crisis bombarded all of the news. Shortly after, I received a frightening email from the United States government, advising all U.S. citizens traveling there to take extra precautions. This was the very first moment I was able to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to be living in a different country, one very far from my security blanket I had here.

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Nigerian student Esther Bila said she thought she was competing for a school trophy when she was asked to take a special exam. However, she ended up earning a yearlong scholarship to study in the United States through the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program.

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I remember the first time I decided to do something solo abroad… I wanted to see the Lion King Musical when I was in London. No one else in my program was interested, so I went alone. My mom was so proud of how independent I was that she told everyone for weeks after about how I went to The Lion King alone, which actually makes me sound much more lame than independent, but from then on I’ve gotten a thrill out of solo travel and experiences. Now, before you assume I’m anti-social, I love traveling with others. I spent 12 straight days with a group of awesome girls from my program in Thessaloniki, but there’s something solo travel gives you that you can’t get with anyone else.

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Clare Jones, of New Orleans, LA, has received a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant in Creative Writing to New Zealand and Polynesia where she will research and write a book of poetry titled “Neotype” that weaves together themes of botany, ornithology, and geology of the area.

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Steph Rue, of Cleveland, OH, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Seoul, South Korea for 2015-16. Rue, who will graduate this May with an M.F.A. in Book Arts/Center for the Book from the University of Iowa, will focus her research on early monastic paper and book production methods, as well as the historical techniques and the spiritual underpinnings of Korean bookmaking.

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A new grant for the third-largest language program at the University of Iowa will mean expanded Japanese programs around campus. A more than $300,000 Institutional Project Support grant from the Japan Foundation will bring new faculty, facilities, and opportunities for more students to learn Japanese at the UI.

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Known by some as the "Dumpling Darling," Lesley Triplett began her own Korean-style dumpling stand at the Iowa City Farmer's Market in July 2014 and has been expanding the business ever since. The UI communications graduate says her unique business venture was inspired by her love of travel, which began with a study abroad experience during her time at the University of Iowa.

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Zwina is one of the most beautiful (ha) words in the Arabic language, in part because it can describe literally everything – the food is zwina, the weather’s zwina, this class is zwina. The idea of food being beautiful or tasting beautiful is a strange expression in English, but is common and complimentary in Darija. In Rabat, Morocco, the world is zwina – the people, the ancient city, the cafés on the corners and morning call to prayer. The weather is a sunny 75 degrees, and coastal breeze blows in each evening from the sea. The Kingdom of Morocco is zwina.

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Gloria Wenman, of Iowa City, IA, has been awarded a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award for an English Teaching Assistantship to Mongolia.

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The following six University of Iowa students have been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study critical needs languages during the summer of 2015: Laura Wang, Stephanie Rue, Destinee Gwee, Elaine Mou, Mandy Conrad, and Brittany Callahan.

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Through the silver screen, we are able to connect with stories, places and faces from home and around the world. As filmmaker Martin Scorsese says, “Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds.” At FilmScene, we couldn’t agree more with Scorsese’s sentiment, which speaks to the heart of everything we do as a nonprofit film arts organization.

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Sarah Mayer, of Johnston, IA, has received a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Colombia where she will work as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA). Mayer will graduate this spring with a B.A./B.S. in Spanish and biochemistry from the University of Iowa.

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Sean O’Harrow, the director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, said there’s much more to Pollock, his work, and his legacy than people give him credit for, and a new exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, organized by the UI Art Museum, will show people just how influential and important Pollack was — and is still.

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When I was applying to IES Rabat study abroad program, I struggled with the question of whether or not to stay with a host family so much that I submitted my housing application two weeks late. I had heard good things about homestays from friends who had studied abroad, but was worried about the awkward interactions that the language barrier would create, worried that I might lose all the independence I had gained when I moved to college after high school. Others warned me that I was moving to a dangerous country in which the culture was too different from my own for me to function within the confines of a foreign family unit. It would be more comfortable for me to live with other Americans in a condo in the city.

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As a result of spring break, or “Easter holiday” as it is called here in the UK, I was given the chance to travel for three weeks without interruption throughout the end of March and into early April. I used this opportunity to plan a trip to the continent with my fellow University of Iowa student/UEA student and best friend Juliette Sigmond.

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Brett Burk, of Oskaloosa, IA, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to pursue an English Teaching Assistantship in Taiwan for 2015-16. Burk graduated from the University of Iowa in December 2014 with a B.A. in linguistics and an emphasis in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).

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Phil’s Day 2015 is a day to celebrate philanthropy and the impact it has on the University of Iowa. These are just a few of the many UI students who were able to study or conduct research abroad in the past year, gaining invaluable experiences and memories that enhanced their education and lives, thanks to the generosity of private donors. Read on to learn about their unique adventures and projects.

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A photo exhibition of Wang’s work will run through May 12 in the Adler Journalism Building Resource Center. Photographs include representations of bicycle repairmen and construction from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

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