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It sounds anti-social to prefer traveling alone, but so far that’s been the case. I haven’t left Germany. I cancelled a trip to Prague to avoid the annoyance of the Deutsche Bahn train strikes, but beyond that all my travels have been day-trips aside from one sleepover in Berlin.

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During my walk to class this morning I really took in the sights around me, looking back and remembering the time all of it was so strange and new. It was a huge accomplishment if I made it to class without getting lost. Now I try to get lost on purpose (not on my way to class though) so I can find the unfamiliar parts of town. When is the point in time where the strange and different becomes familiar, becomes home? Not only has my perspective changed, but I also feel different. In a very subtle way, like how your hair gets longer but you can't tell until you see pictures of you with short hair (my hair is in desperate need of a cut.)

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The University of Iowa will celebrate International Education Week Nov. 17-21 with several events and activities, including a public ceremony to honor 2014 International Impact Award recipients Roger Thurow, a UI journalism alumnus, and Selma Jeronimo, a physician who has worked closely with UI medical faculty and students.

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I'm going to start off by telling everyone it's 60 degrees outside, and I am FREEZING. This cold is giving me flashbacks to the polar vortex and -25 degree wind chill. Except it's 60 degrees. I am an Iowan in and out, 20 years of living with Iowa winters, and I have become soft. This place has changed me into the person that says, "Que calor!" At 80 degrees and "Que frio!" At 60 degrees.

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A couple of weeks ago, I went on another trip through my study abroad program. It was full of many once in a lifetime opportunities, and I think this would be a good time to delve a bit more into what IES European Union is all about. My program is made up of 66 students from universities all over the country. While most of us are political science or international relations majors, there are also economics, business, and environmental majors here. We each take five classes. Each student is enrolled in a German language class as well as an EU integrative seminar.

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See what University of Iowa students have been up to abroad through the lens of Instagram! From the mountains of New Zealand to the Globe Theatre in London to the villages of Nicaragua, UI students have explored nearly every corner of the world.

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Whenever you find yourself away from home for a while, it is easy to become homesick. It could be a one-time moment of utter longing to be at home with your family and friends, or it can come in waves. My first experience with homesickness abroad was triggered by something very common in Costa Rica: cockroaches.

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As I walked down the Obispo, a popular street with many stores and restaurants, I could see people as pale as rice paper or as dark as the night sky but in Cuba there is no white and black, you are just Cuban.

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I’m close to my halfway point in my study abroad experience, and I think I’ve gained enough experience and expertise to let other people know exactly why they should be doing exactly what I’m doing (but in their own way!) If I can convince at least one person to go through with a study abroad experience, I think I would be happy. There are a million reasons why people should study abroad, or travel in general, but here are a few that I came up with that I think are pretty convincing arguments.

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The weekend started by getting on the bus in Istanbul at 9pm. There were about 50 of us and we were mainly exchange students who went to various universities in Istanbul. Our first stop was Salt Lake. This place is very unique because it is the second largest lake in Turkey, and much of the salt used in Turkey is taken from this lake. The place we went to on Salt Lake actually had no water, and we could walk out far from “shore.” It was quite cold, but it was very cool to walk on the ground which was basically solid salt. I even tasted some of the salt!

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