study abroad

I have been in Spain for roughly two weeks and have spent 25% of that time lost. Maybe this is an exaggeration since many of my meanderings, as Tolkien might say, were spent with intention. However, this was definitely not true of my first day. My first experience of feeling misplaced was immediately upon arriving in Madrid. The second (third, fourth and fifth ad infinitim) have been in Bilbao, a clean and beautiful city whose streets seem to snake like tributaries of the Mississippi river even though I’ve been told by everyone who lives here “it’s so small it is impossible to get lost.” In every Spanish city I have visited so far I’ve found it very easy to lose my way, and the only difference between my first day and today is that now I do it on purpose.

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I don’t know how to answer the questions you’ll ask me about being abroad for four months. You’ll ask if it was amazing, and then you will ask me if I miss it. And I will say there are a few things that I miss in particular – getting to see mountains every day, and I honestly miss hearing the Icelandic language. The landscape is surreal, so I miss that, too. What I could do without is missing my friends and family in the United States. But now I just miss the friends that I made abroad.

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Getting off the plane at O’Hare was surreal. Was I really back in Chicago? Costa Rica felt like a dream and I had just suddenly awoken to the brisk winter of the Windy City. To be honest I wasn’t excited to be back, not as excited as I should have been or excited as my friends were. I had found a sense of happiness in Costa Rica that I was scared I would lose the moment I stepped back on to U.S. territory. But as I walked through the airport, I promised myself I would hold on to that happiness and optimism I had gained in Costa Rica and carry it with me wherever I went.

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Students on the six-week summer Irish Writing Program program have the extraordinary opportunity not only to study the history and culture of Ireland through its literature, but also to begin the discovery of their own identities as writers. It’s an experience with transformative results for many. This is one of many short-term and faculty led programs that will be represented at this spring's Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Jan 29.

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My idea was to create the best study abroad creative writing program in the world. That sounds immodest but that was the goal, and I think we do offer an outstanding study abroad experience. It’s an undergraduate program with graduate level expectations. My secret (out now) was to always treat undergraduate students as if they were graduates. They have always done the job. I knew that the University of Iowa was considered number one in America for the writers’ workshop, and I knew we in Ireland had exceptionally talented literature and drama professors. Bringing together the best of both places made the program an instant success.

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

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After 28 hours in airports and airplanes – with little to no sleep – I made it not to home, but to a nice comfy hotel. Little did I know when I was buying my plane ticket home back in July that I would get caught in Iowa’s first big snowstorm of 2015. Had I gone back a day earlier or a day later, I would have gotten home just fine!

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University of Iowa student Andrew Mogni sustained serious injuries after a fall in Rome and is currently receiving medical care. The 20-year-old from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, recently arrived for a semester program at John Cabot University in Trastevere. He is a third-year finance major at the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

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Brad Merryman will tell you he has the best job in the world. After 25 years in the IT industry, he hung up his hat and volunteered in Costa Rica through the Peace Corps. Just a few short months after returning to the U.S., Merryman was honored to accept the Midwest Regional Manager position with the Peace Corps, where he now oversees the recruitment of volunteers throughout a region spanning 11 states.

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It’s Wednesday night and I’ve just had a long but great day. I and a few other people got tickets to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour! To say that I used to be obsessed with Harry Potter is probably an understatement. My room was plastered with posters, I knew every tiny little fact and would take online trivia quizzes to prove I knew every little fact, and I’ve definitely read the books more than once. I was always convinced (okay, still am) that my Hogwarts letter had just gotten lost in the mail.

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