Japan

A group of educational leaders from various Japanese universities is visiting the University of Iowa to discuss Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative and garner strategies and tactics to develop a STEM program in Japan.

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Two Japanese Kizuna Fellows shared their touching first-hand accounts of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 in a presentation Monday, August 5, at the Johnson County Crisis Center where the two are interning for the summer. In addition to their personal experiences, they discussed the food-bank system of Japan and the struggles of their home communities to return to normal life.

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Emi Inomoto and Misato Abe from the Kizuna Project will share their unique experiences of living in Japan during the deadly earthquake and tsunami of 2011 in a presentation Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. at the Johnson County Crisis Center. The event is free and open to the public.

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Have you been on a mission trip? Hosted a foreign visitor in your home? Helped someone master the English language – or had them help you learn another? Did you visit another country with your family and make a new friend? Were you part of a semester abroad program? If you have participated in an activity (organized or casual) that helped you meet and interact with people from another part of the world, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) invites you to enter photographs as part of its photo contest.

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I know that in America it is a little harder to tell if someone is a foreigner or not just by looking at them, because of our vast and heterogeneous population. In Japan the way I was treated as a foreigner was a lot different than how I’ve seen foreigners treated in the states. In my experience, whether or not someone was a foreigner was just something to take note of, and wonder about, no action was taken. In Japan, after I got through all of the impromptu photo-shoots, I was often approached and asked about how I was enjoying the country. I received warm welcomes, and was asked of my plans to return. I know that each society has their reasons for doing what they do in this situation. Personally, I have decided to adopt the Japanese way of acknowledging foreigners (minus the camera action). I can honestly say it has served me well, and I have met a lot of really amazing people because of this.

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As a first-generation student, I have always had to figure out things on my own related to college. My family is supportive and helps me as much as they can, but it has been a long and well worthwhile journey to attain my goals. None of my family had studied abroad before, and barely anyone had been out of the country. This should make me apprehensive, but on the contrary, I have grown to have a sense of wonder about exploring other countries. I have developed a lot as a person because of studying abroad.

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Iowa’s universities boast graduation rates above the national average, but have produced mixed results in pursuit of goals set by the Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the universities.

The University of Iowa, where more than 48 percent of students finish school in four years, performed the best. Its graduation rate is just shy of a 48.3 percent goal. The regents want each university to achieve its graduation goals by 2016.

Students, however, sometimes prefer to pay more to stay in school longer. Internships, semesters abroad and demanding majors like engineering are all common reasons for not graduating in four years, students and university officials said.

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What do the University of Iowa’s 1,245 Chinese students, Whirlpool appliances from Middle Amana, Johnson County’s cornfields, Kirkwood’s STEM outreach and West Liberty’s Dual Language Programs have in common?

They represent some of Iowa’s considerable assets in the world-wide competition for growth and prosperity. Thanks to advances in communication and transportation, globalization means that Iowa is more connected to and affected by world events than ever before.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a 90 second video worth? UI students submitted videos from their study abroad experiences for a chance to win cash prizes in a new video contest this year -- “Uncharted Territories.”

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In her bicycle trek across Japan last month, Iowa City resident Michelle Gin met a number of hibakusha, the Japanese term for survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. in 1945.

One woman, a volunteer emergency aid worker, recounted to Gin her experience of rushing to the hospital just after the bomb dropped. The streets were filled with burned bodies and hands reached for her ankles for help as she walked by.

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