travel stories

My name is Nadia Doubiany, and I am a senior at the University of Iowa studying International Studies in Human Rights, Fundraising and Philanthropy Communications, and Spanish. If you are considering study abroad in Cuba, do it! In all of my travels abroad, my experience in Cuba has been by far the most life changing.

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Jeno Singson graduated from the University of Iowa this spring with a degree in marketing. He was a recipient of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship for Study Abroad, which applied toward a yearlong program at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia. Identifying as not only Asian but also a member of the LGBT community, Jeno made it his personal goal to be a role model for other Asian LGBT minorities as well as people of color. The following is a reflection by Jeno on his time abroad.

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In an increasingly global society, biracial marriages are, for the most part, accepted. Because of the diversity within the United States, most Americans are accustomed to not only seeing, but interacting with biracial individuals. In my case, I traveled to a country where there are strict laws that hinder immigration and an overarching notion that the gene pool is pure and must not be diluted.

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UI Study Abroad Diversity Ambassador Stephanie Cuddalore Priya is an accounting student at the Tippie College of Business, and a CIMBA spring 2015 alumna. She studied in the small Italian town, Paderno Del Grappa for 12 weeks, traveling to 10 different countries and experiencing self-discovery, adventure, and culture. In this letter to prospective students, she reflects on overcoming being a 'homebody' and how her multicultural background comes in handy while traveling.

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Jessica Lile, a UI undergraduate, received the Stanley award to conduct research for eight weeks on adolescent tobacco usage in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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Joan Kjaer and her guests closed the 2015 WorldCanvass season on Tuesday, May 5 with a fascinating look at the transformational power of cinema and its unique ability to inspire, provoke, and challenge preconceptions. WorldCanvass guests discussed how cultures are explored and projected through film and shared their own international experiences that have either reinforced or contradicted cinematic representations. Catch the whole show in audio and video form in this ReCap.

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Zwina is one of the most beautiful (ha) words in the Arabic language, in part because it can describe literally everything – the food is zwina, the weather’s zwina, this class is zwina. The idea of food being beautiful or tasting beautiful is a strange expression in English, but is common and complimentary in Darija. In Rabat, Morocco, the world is zwina – the people, the ancient city, the cafés on the corners and morning call to prayer. The weather is a sunny 75 degrees, and coastal breeze blows in each evening from the sea. The Kingdom of Morocco is zwina.

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When I was applying to IES Rabat study abroad program, I struggled with the question of whether or not to stay with a host family so much that I submitted my housing application two weeks late. I had heard good things about homestays from friends who had studied abroad, but was worried about the awkward interactions that the language barrier would create, worried that I might lose all the independence I had gained when I moved to college after high school. Others warned me that I was moving to a dangerous country in which the culture was too different from my own for me to function within the confines of a foreign family unit. It would be more comfortable for me to live with other Americans in a condo in the city.

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One of the most significant aspects of studying abroad is seeing everything you possibly can, while learning and growing every step of the way. After getting settled into my new life at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, I was quickly ready to get out there and begin seeing all the things I had spent months pinning on Pinterest. After all, my parents were beginning to wonder what exactly I was getting out of spending day after day at the beach.

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UI Study Abroad Diversity Ambassador Scholar Mikkia Graves is a senior majoring in mathematics with a minor in statistics and a certificate in entrepreneurial management. This winter, Graves studied abroad on the USAC Havana Program in Havana, Cuba, where she explored the history and culture of Cuba. In this letter, she reflects on her study abroad experiences in Cuba and India as both a first-generation college student and an African American woman.

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