International Accents

E.g., Monday, October 20, 2014
E.g., Monday, October 20, 2014

An overly excited husband tries to cheer up his wife as they prepare to celebrate Fourth of July in their brand new home – complete with matching American flag T-shirts; but as the Indian-American couple adjust to life in the ‘burbs they are soon exposed to local ignorance and prejudice that threatens to dampen their spirits.

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On June 7th, the University’s Alumni Association presented Sandra Barkan, formerly associate dean of the Graduate College, and her late husband, Professor Joel Barkan, with its Distinguished Alumni Award for their contribution to international studies at Iowa. In accepting the award, Sandra explained why she and her husband regarded international studies of such great importance and described the establishment of the University’s Center for International and Comparative Studies, forerunner to today’s International Programs. Following is a summary of her observations.

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Topics covered in this episode:
- Favorite movie?
- Do you play sports?
- What are your hobbies?
- What American habits have you noticed?

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Cocktail dresses, traditional Swedish drinking songs, and four course dinners are three things I didn’t expect to experience during my semester abroad, but ended up being a highlight of my time in Sweden. Through the thirteen student nations of Uppsala University, I was able to attend Gasques, hang out in pubs with fellow students, and grab lunch at a student discount in one of two universities in all of Sweden that offer these activities and events through student run nations.

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I finally feel like I have the hang of getting around here. I also have come strides in what I know now and what I knew when I first came. The research projects I have been doing are definitely widening my knowledge about global health. I also had the opportunity to observe a mitral valve replacement surgery this week.

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International Programs is pleased to announce a new partnership with FilmScene, Iowa City's non-profit cinema arts organization, which promises to bring a new flavor to IP’s television and radio series WorldCanvass.

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We had a three-day weekend here in SA because of the national holiday called Youth Day being commemorated Monday. Due to this my friends and I decided to pack up and head out to see the scenic Garden Route. This, by definition, is the beautiful stretch on the southeastern coast of South Africa. It hails numerous stunning towns and countless attractions all along the way. By 6:15 a.m. Saturday, we were on the road heading towards our next adventure!

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Three words that are so simple, that we hear every day, yet in this context were so true and impactful. “Live; everyone needs to live all of life’s abundance, take full advantage everything it has to offer. Love; do I need to really explain that one? Lead; lead others through life the way you know is good, because everybody needs to understand and be understood, and forgive and be forgiven.” This little phrase has stuck with me since last week, and it will be how I look at the rest of my time here in Italy. I now realize more than ever that I will be leaving this beautiful place in the blink of an eye, and the only way to make the most of it is to live, love, and lead.

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When I first stepped off the plane in Sweden I was told two very important things. First, that I would need a warmer coat. Second, that we were going to have a Fika. Due to my Scandinavian heritage, I had learned about the Swedish, social institution of having a daily Fika (or many), but I highly underestimated how important this phenomenon would be to my daily routine.

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Topics covered in this episode:
- Favorite place to hangout in Iowa City?
- Favorite food from your country?
- What do you like about Iowa City?

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Today I finished my Responding to Climate Change course. I took a final exam, turned in an 8-page paper and presented on the paper with PowerPoint. Whew. All done. When I passed around Belgium waffle cookies and chocolate crisps after we (all 2 of us students) turned everything in and completed our presentations, the professor said, “I hope this is not corruption.”

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Blake Rupe considers herself an accidental entrepreneur. The 26-year-old UI student had no plans to start a business, but a trip to some garbage-infested beaches in Mexico convinced her a mobile application to encourage recycling could help.

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I have been in Florence for a little over two weeks now, and I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by. Even though I am only entering my third week in Italy, I feel so comfortable walking these streets and really do feel like I am at home. I don’t even know where to begin because every day is truly amazing and unique, nothing is ever the same and there really isn’t a routine in the best way possible.

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To me travel has always been about the people I would find in each unique place. When I day-dreamt about my future exploits I was never in a given place for less than a month. Once I had decided that I simply had to stay in these foreign locations for a longer period of time, I decided studying abroad was my solution. Now, how just how was I going to pay for it…

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At 5 a.m. Beijing time, I awoke to the sound of absolute stillness and the shafts of dull grey Chinese light through the dirty windows. Not knowing Dan (my new roommate) very well, I hesitated to get up and risk waking my likely equally jet-lagged companion. I opted to pull out my Nexus 7 tablet and play Pokemon Emerald version until further notice.

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According to many paranormal investigations, the Edinburgh Vaults are reportedly one of the most haunted locations in the world. Mustering up all of our courage, our group went on a ghost tour of the vaults, learning of the spirits that still roamed its corridors from the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the famed ghosts is known as “Mr. Boots,” an evil entity who is believed to have murdered a woman and kept the body in his “house” inside.

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Moving to Africa is a big enough change all on its own, but the day-to-day differences are definitely the ones that are the hardest to get used to. Here are a few differences I have really noticed in my daily life here in South Africa...

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Blogger Kelsey Morfitt travels to Ireland for a long weekend, rents a car, and explores the Emerald Isle on her own!

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We got up at 3 am to drive to Chicago. For whatever reason when I got up, I left my eyeglasses on my bed. Moments later, my loving dad accidentally sat on them, rendering them unwearable. I determined it best to go without and wait until I reached China to get them repaired.

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Topics covered in this episode:
- Why the University of Iowa?
- Where do you want to visit in the U.S.?
- Favorite place you've been in the world?

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I have seen Big Ben, the London Eye, and ridden a double decker bus. I can (sort of) navigate the underground tube system. I’ve even gotten to know a couple of the locals on a first-name basis. All in all, it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with the bustling city of London. Despite this, it was nice to get out of the urban atmosphere for a day and visit the beautiful city of York, England.

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Our trip has been filled to the brim with breathtaking tours offering us a take on London’s most popular attractions. However, things shifted a bit when we gathered on a cobbled stone road, just as the sun began to set for the evening. Rather than giggles and an overall uplifting vibe, the nervous tension and quickening heartbeats rose from our group.

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As I sit here in my downtown flat in Cape Town, South Africa it seems almost surreal that I am here right now. I was born and raised in rural Iowa, so being able to look outside my 18th story window and have a fantastic view of the mountain, the ocean AND downtown is something completely foreign to me. Thinking on the past few months and my decision to come to Cape Town, I am sure I made the right choice.

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The day finally arrived! My journey to Florence, Italy was about to begin and I couldn't believe it. Thanks to my mom making me pack two days before (thanks mom), I had nothing but time to kill the day of my flight, which of course caused all of the nerves that seemed so lacking to all of the sudden hit me like a brick wall. I thought I got all of the nerves out while doing the final check for my passport and other essentials for leaving the country, but boy was I wrong.

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Topics covered in this episode:
- favorite foods from U.S.
- favorite foods from home country
- most interesting American habits

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