International Accents

E.g., Saturday, December 20, 2014
E.g., Saturday, December 20, 2014

Four University of Iowa undergraduate students and 20 UI graduate students have received Stanley Awards for International Research to conduct research abroad or pursue learning activities in international studies that are not available on the UI campus.

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I knew I had to make studying abroad a reality even though I had the obstacle of being a first generation and underrepresented student on campus. The major worry I had was being able to afford the program. With the help of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship and others I was able to make this dream a reality. While I was going through the process of ensuring the details of the trip I still could not believe I was actually flying out of North America. It actually did not hit me I was going to Spain until I had arrived to my host mother’s apartment and not my own in Iowa.

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Every single one welcomed the doctors and us with open arms into their home. Some even went out to buy cold soda, with the little money they had, for us to cool down. I have seen my parents struggle financially. I struggle financially too, but in no way am I struggling near as much as many of the people in India. It makes one re-evaluate how to approach daily life and the attitudes one may have when they wake up in the morning. It's a reminder that when you have so little, you can still be happy and grateful for having anything at all. The people I met in India changed how I live my life and taught me to be grateful for all of the opportunities I have been presented with.

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I’ll admit here that when I was applying for the India Winterim Program and for this very scholarship, I had some doubts. I had convinced my family, friends, and professors that participating in the program would be beneficial, but inside I was nervous. Would I get homesick? How would I deal with being immersed in a new culture? Would my new classmates and travel companions like me? In spite of all my worry, I was accepted into the program, and after taking a deep breath, I confirmed my participation in the course

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I will never forget how proud I was of my roots that day even though I didn’t know my own. As we drove into the village we were welcomed by the Fula tribe who shouted happily, “Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!” Not too long after we arrived, we danced with the Fula for at least an hour. At that moment I knew I was right at home.

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I know that in America it is a little harder to tell if someone is a foreigner or not just by looking at them, because of our vast and heterogeneous population. In Japan the way I was treated as a foreigner was a lot different than how I’ve seen foreigners treated in the states. In my experience, whether or not someone was a foreigner was just something to take note of, and wonder about, no action was taken. In Japan, after I got through all of the impromptu photo-shoots, I was often approached and asked about how I was enjoying the country. I received warm welcomes, and was asked of my plans to return. I know that each society has their reasons for doing what they do in this situation. Personally, I have decided to adopt the Japanese way of acknowledging foreigners (minus the camera action). I can honestly say it has served me well, and I have met a lot of really amazing people because of this.

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As a first-generation student, I have always had to figure out things on my own related to college. My family is supportive and helps me as much as they can, but it has been a long and well worthwhile journey to attain my goals. None of my family had studied abroad before, and barely anyone had been out of the country. This should make me apprehensive, but on the contrary, I have grown to have a sense of wonder about exploring other countries. I have developed a lot as a person because of studying abroad.

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What I took back to the US is patience. In India, as loud as the roads are and as crazy as they drive, the people in India have patience. They definitely do not take things for granted. India is a third world country and if I know that people out there can live on a dollar a day, I should be able to do that. The US is definitely spoiled, and I think every student should make a decision to study abroad in a third world country to understand that their life is not bad. In India, people are happy for what little they have and I hope that when people come back to the United States, they will be able to apply that to their life and look at life on the brighter side.

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Because I had my daughter during my sophomore year at Iowa I felt like my study abroad aspirations were going to have to be a memory. This is because I could never bear the idea of being a long distance away from my daughter for a long period of time. But upon discovering the Critical Cultural Competency Certificate program and needing to go on an immersion experience to complete the certificate requirements is when I finally went into the Study Abroad office and inquired information about various Winter Session trips.

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The Honorable Fatih Yildiz, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey to Chicago, recently visited the UI for a talk on Turkish Foreign Policy in a Changing World. In honor of his visit, we have compiled a few examples of how the University of Iowa and Turkey are connected.

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The Meet the Challenge Hawkeye Awards recognize five undergraduate students who exemplify one of the values promoted by The IOWA Challenge to Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, and Serve. This year, international student Hexiang Wang was awarded the Meet the Challenge Award in the Stretch category. Hexiang was nominated by International Programs' Dean Downing Thomas. Below is his letter of nomination describing the many ways in which he has seen Hexiang seek out personal challenges during her time at Iowa. Congratulations Hexiang!

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Three University of Iowa students alumnae have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research internationally in 2013-14. This year's UI recipients are Margaret Ross, Rebecca McCray, and Briana Smith.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between people of the United States and other countries by providing participants opportunities to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

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This year’s Gusto Latino drew large crowds, who came to dance salsa, participate in a dance competition, and enjoy the sounds of Salsa Vibe. The event was held at Old Brick in Iowa City on Friday, April 19, 2013. Check out these photos taken by Mark Zhu of Student Life Marketing + Design.

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When Leslie Santos was working on her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at the University of Puerto Rico, many of the articles and books she read were written by University of Iowa professors Dennis R. Maki and Vilia Tarvydas.

“They are the top in the field of rehabilitation counseling,” Santos says.

So when she had an opportunity to move to Iowa to pursue her doctorate, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study under Maki and Tarvydas.

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Marina Kostina (BA ’95/MA ’97/PhD ’11) is changing the way teachers and students interact online. She is also expanding the global reach of higher education through her work in distance learning.

Kostina, who says she came to the United States from Russia 20 years ago with “just a bag in my hand and a dream in my heart,” is now a best-selling author on Amazon and has created her own thriving business, Wired @ Heart, which teaches instructors to build effective online courses.

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Although the term ‘interpersonal psychotherapy,’ or IPT, may not be as familiar to the lay person as ‘Freudian analysis’ or ‘cognitive behavior therapy,’ its use as a treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders has steadily grown since its development more than three decades ago. On June 13, from 6-7 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum, WorldCanvass Studio host Joan Kjaer and a group of international experts will discuss IPT’s efficacy, explore cultural challenges to treatment, and compare and contrast the approach to psychological disorders and mental illness in the Canadian, Australian, and U.S. healthcare systems.

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UI senior Jeannette George was recently featured in the “Get to Know…” section of Iowa Now, where she talks about her love of education, her busy schedule at the UI, and the biggest risk she’s ever taken – traveling to Uganda for 12 weeks to conduct research about sickle-cell anemia. The nursing and international studies major says her brave decision to go to Uganda definitely paid off.

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I met my patient whom I will call “Luna” about three years ago. She identified as a transwoman and had transitioned about 10 years earlier — after living most of her adult life identifying as a man, having been married and raising now adult sons and daughters. I feel it necessary to describe my initial sense of discomfort.

Having practiced medicine for more than 30 years, I have met patients from a multitude of backgrounds and nationalities. I enjoy a collaborative practice with my patients, and I love to incorporate their philosophical and cultural beliefs into their health care. Yet, I felt uncomfortable caring for her.

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Phil’s Day 2013 celebrates the many ways philanthropy and private gifts support the university and its programs. Every year, hundreds of students are able to study or conduct research abroad thanks to generous donors. In honor of Phil, check out some of their unique experiences.

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Sometimes you may find an opportunity to travel to a country that is unfamilar or to an institution at which you have no existing professional connections. In those instances, International Programs can help identify other UI faculty who already have a knowledge of the area and who may even have long-standing connections at the particular institution you plan to visit.

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Thomas Langer, a senior at the University of Iowa studying International Studies and Human Rights (CLAS), traveled to India last summer to conduct research for his Honors Thesis. While there, he met an unexpected visitor whose personal story of struggle and success moved Thomas beyond words and affirmed his academic ambitions.

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Nearly 6,000 miles from Iowa City, Turkey acts as a bridge between Europe and Asia, and it is now looking to become more of a partner with the United States. “When you look from the shift in politics from the west to the east, Turkey is in the middle of that,” said Fatih Yildiz, the Turkish consul general in Chicago. Yildiz visited the University of Iowa on Monday to speak with students and faculty about creating those relationships at the state and local level.

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You are invited to attend a Fulbright U.S. Student Program workshop given by UI Student Fulbright Advisor Karen Wachsmuth of International Programs on Monday, May 6, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in International Commons, 1117 UCC.

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The final talk of the spring 2013 European Studies Group lecture series, presented by UI faculty member Luis Martín-Estudillo, will be held Friday, May 3, 2013, at noon in University Capitol Centre, Room 2520B, on the topic of "Confabulations: Guarding and Regarding Fortress Europe's Southern Walls." This event is free and open to the public.

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Thousands of miles from Iowa, an earthquake struck China last week, but some University of Iowa students still felt the impact. On April 20, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the center of Ya’an, located in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, killing more than 192 people and leaving more than 11,000 injured, according to the Associated Press. On Thursday night, approximately 100 students each held a white carnation as they encircled the candles that formed a heart shape in the middle of the Kautz Plaza. They then prayed for the victims at Ya’an.

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