School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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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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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Lu Shen was interested in journalism long before she enrolled at the University of Iowa as a double major in Journalism and Mass Communication and Art. Shen, an undergraduate student from Hangzhou, China, studied for two years before making the decision to come to the U.S. She was encouraged by a favorite professor at home to take on the challenge of studying journalism in a U.S. university, and her parents also supported her decision.

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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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Journalist, author, and activist Roger Thurow and tropical medicine specialist Dr. Selma Jeronimo have been named the winners of the 2014 International Impact Awards. UI President Sally Mason and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas will present the awards to Thurow and Jeronimo at 5 p.m., November 18, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City as part of the television/radio/internet program WorldCanvass. The ensuing discussion will focus on the tenacious cycle of poverty, hunger, and disease which afflicts so many parts of our globe—and some of the creative efforts worldwide to break the cycle.

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October 8th. Can you believe it? I can't. It's been more than a month abroad, and somehow I'm still surviving. Actually, I know how I'm surviving. With lots of pastries and tea.

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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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Although he was a fictional character dreamt up by Scottish author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s, many of Holmes’ techniques are effectively used today – over 130 years later. Indeed, the magnifying glass is an effective tool popularized by the detective, as are his methods of logical reasoning, disguise, and forensic science, which were simply unheard of at the time.

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As I write, I am sitting in bed, all of my clothes are packed in vacuum-sealed bags, copies of my passport are scanned, and my alarm is set. Yet here I am, wide awake, eagerly anticipating the big trip.

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Ever since I first picked up the novel American Psycho a couple of years ago, I’ve had a sort of infatuation with famous serial killers. I became intrigued at the thought of gaining insight into America’s criminal justice system by studying its British roots – criminology is something that has always captivated me. In just a few days, I will be studying abroad in the United Kingdom in a program called Crime and Justice and Britain.

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