England

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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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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I spent the entirety of last weekend in Bath. The journey commenced around noon on Friday when my friend Juliette and I left the Norwich train station for London Liverpool Street. We originally intended to leave around 10:30 a.m., but complications arose and we missed our train. This incited a brief period of anxiety, but after a few minutes I was able to remind myself that the journey wasn't ruined or cancelled because of one small complication. To travel frequently means you have to be ready for anything to happen, because unfortunately not everything will run smoothly.

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Location: Norwich. Time since arrival: One week. Status: Alive and thriving. I am in England.

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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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Leah Jessen, a University of Iowa finance major from Waukee, Iowa, recently returned from the trip of a lifetime in Europe. She enrolled in the winter session study abroad program in London offered by Tippie College of Business and filled her schedule to the brim with sightseeing when she wasn’t in class.

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One of my referees (based at Yale) told me candidly that I should not be disappointed by a rejection, for no one he had recommended had ever been accepted. When the letter came from the College, it was in a thin envelope. My heart sank, for thin envelopes rarely contain good news. To my surprise, this one did. From the dean of visiting fellows, the letter began with the words "I am pleased to invite you...." And to my delight, the invitation was for not one, not two, but three Oxford terms -- a full academic year.

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Is there anyone who doesn’t marvel as the next new technological phenomenon rolls off the production line? Whether you like the new gadget and desperately want one for yourself, or whether you think it may be the ruination of all that’s good and true in the world, you’re likely to gasp or shake your head with the realization that what was once beyond even the imagination of ordinary mortals is now a quotidian reality.

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Abstract: As we approach the 200th anniversary of the massive eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora, Gillen Wood’s Tambora Project reconstructs on a global scale the most destructive episode of abrupt climate change in the modern historical record. The volcanic sulfate veil produced by Tambora in the period 1815-18 altered global weather patterns, initiating the first global cholera pandemic, while famine, refugeeism and civil unrest threatened hard-hit nations from China to Western Europe to New England. The Tambora period thus offers a powerful historical illustration of the causal web linking climate change and the fate of human societies, reinforcing for us, in the twenty-first century, how climate destabilization can and is shaping world events.

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I have learned a great deal about myself from these two experiences. Not only am I from Nepal but I am also from America. Being in Japan has made me embrace my Nepalese culture more but I also appreciate being from America. My identity as an Asian American remains and I have learned not to be scared of who I am. I have values and ideas that are rooted in both cultures. I am not going to lie and say that sometimes I didn’t get confused, I did and I still do but these things are bound to happen. I just know that I am proud to be me, no matter what color I am, no matter my sexuality or gender, I am lucky enough to have lived in two places and I am not ashamed of my identity.

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