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There are many things a regular person would be worried about when attending a new school in another country. Will the classes be hard? Will the teachers speak English? Will I be able to keep up?

However, the one topic of my concern was… will there be air conditioning?

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Two days prior to our trip, I had an unexpected adventure in Freiburg. One evening, I managed to slice my knee open on a sharp metal railing at a friend’s apartment. All of you who know my tendency to accidentally get injured are probably rolling your eyes right now. Long story short, it was a bloody mess, and I got to take a ride in an ambulance to a German hospital. After figuring out the insurance and filling out some forms, I got six stitches, a bonus tetanus shot, and I was back home within two hours of the original injury.

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I am at the point where everything is starting to feel somewhat normal and at home here. Things are feeling familiar to me, and it’s been more than 24 hours since I’ve gotten lost–although I wouldn’t put too much confidence in my inner-GPS skills just yet. I am also very consciously wondering, “Am I integrating myself into the culture enough? Do I look the part? I haven’t had paella yet, should I be worried?”, while also comparing what it’s like to be an American, a University of Iowa student, even just an Iowan, to the culture here.

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As I exited the airport, I couldn’t help but feel the butterflies in my stomach increase tenfold. Here I was for the first time outside of the country, alone and nervous about meeting my host family. I quickly saw my host mom holding up a sign with my name along with her brother. This was it. I was here in Costa Rica and as we piled into the car I tried to keep calm and take everything in. As we sped down the winding roads and steep hills, I saw an array of small business buildings, tin roofed homes, and narrow sidewalks. Finally pulling up to my host family’s home, I was eager to see where I would be living for the next couple of months.

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Right now, I’m sitting on an 8x8m slab of hardwood flooring. I just did some yoga, I’m listening to music and browsing Facebook-- essentially nothing different than I would be doing back home. Yet there are little things that remind me that I’m actually nowhere near home: I have to bring my own roll of toilet paper to the bathroom, and the water in the shower is scalding and reeking of sulfur so I know it’s authentic Icelandic geothermal water. The combination of my regular routine and the elemental stank confirmed the surreal: I’m officially moved into Reykjavik, Iceland.

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The 2014 Study Abroad Fair at the University of Iowa gave UI students a chance to explore programs around the world, talk to returned study abroad students, ask questions, and share their future study abroad plans and dreams. Take a look at some of the photos and other social interaction captured throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram.

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When countries erupt in violent conflict, are shattered by a powerful earthquake, or fall victim to the outbreak of a deadly disease, studying abroad in those areas become much more restricted. "When it comes to study abroad, safety for students and faculty is a No. 1 priority,” said Joan Kjaer, director of strategic communications for University of Iowa International Programs. That priority can mean a variety of adjustments when it comes to studying abroad for some students.

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Small talk is not a huge thing in Germany, but if you strike up a conversation with a German, you can bet that it will continue for a long time. Our talks with Freiburg locals have resulted in wonderful food, drink, and travel recommendations. What better way to get to know a city than to speak with those that love it most?

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At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, WorldCanvass will explore contemporary Brazil. Our immense neighbor to the south—comprising roughly the same land mass as the U.S.—is the world’s fifth largest country and seventh largest economy. Bursting with biodiversity and undergoing rapid development, Brazil faces a host of tough choices for both its people and the natural environment. Our discussion will reach beyond the brilliant beaches and soccer arenas to reflect on the multi-cultural legacy of Brazil’s complex past as seen in everything from its language to uniquely Brazilian artistic expressions to the political and social dynamics that are actively shaping the Brazil of the 21st century.

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In class our professor told us about "spazieren gehen," which means to take a walk without a real destination. There's not an English phrase quite as concise with the same meaning, but it's somewhere around to stroll or to wander. She tells us this is a very German idea, but she is wrong.

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