China

Upon arriving at the UI his freshman year, Yuhao Cai was paired in Stanley Residence Hall with roommate Jared Szabo, an Iowa native who was also a freshman. Szabo, a fifth-year UI senior, says his hometown of Postville, Iowa, is “a really diverse town,” so being paired with an international roommate “wasn’t too much of a shock.” Cai, on the other hand, was nervous his roommate would fit his perception of American stereotypes.

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"Being exposed to other beliefs and ways of living and working is an intense experience unlike most others that forces students to reflect, to adapt, and to learn new skill sets. Even a simple request in a foreign language can be tough, so consider the learning that occurs when students are challenged with expressing themselves, negotiating, or handling an abstract conversation.”

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This week, faculty and staff at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business are learning how to welcome incoming Chinese students—by correctly pronouncing their names. As Chinese students make up a larger share of student bodies at U.S. colleges—and comprise a large majority of the 20% international enrollment at Tippie—administrators are making cultural adjustments smoother on campus, with special orientations for Chinese students, multicultural food events and Chinese-language coaching for professors and staff.

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Hundreds of incoming international students mingled with American students at the inaugural University of Iowa International Welcome Night on Sunday evening. Students gathered on the Pentacrest on Sunday night to play Frisbee and soccer, eat frozen yogurt and meet on the first night of orientation.

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At 5 a.m. Beijing time, I awoke to the sound of absolute stillness and the shafts of dull grey Chinese light through the dirty windows. Not knowing Dan (my new roommate) very well, I hesitated to get up and risk waking my likely equally jet-lagged companion. I opted to pull out my Nexus 7 tablet and play Pokemon Emerald version until further notice.

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We got up at 3 am to drive to Chicago. For whatever reason when I got up, I left my eyeglasses on my bed. Moments later, my loving dad accidentally sat on them, rendering them unwearable. I determined it best to go without and wait until I reached China to get them repaired.

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Commencement is going global. This weekend, thousands of Iowa Hawkeyes will walk across the stage, shake hands with campus leaders, and be recognized for their achievement in earning a University of Iowa degree. Among our graduates will be hundreds of students from other countries, those who have brought a welcome and necessary international perspective to our campus. The Hawkeye family is growing internationally.

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On Saturday’s University of Iowa Tippie College of Business graduation ceremony, family members, friends, and potential international students in China will be able to watch the ceremony through a narrated version of a live-stream broadcast.

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The influx of international students from Asia has caused some in the nation to question whether this creates unfair competition between wealthier international students and middle-class Asian Americans. But officials and students at the University of Iowa said they don’t see this competition and increase in foreign students as being negative.

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An upcoming workshop at the UI will address the question of what happened to Marxism in China, North Korea, and beyond on Thursday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre. The workshop is free and open to the public and no pre-registration is required.

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