International Accents

E.g., Sunday, August 2, 2015
E.g., Sunday, August 2, 2015

UI Student Government wants you to step out of your comfort zone. Try a food dish you've never had before, talk to someone you've never met, or go to a cultural event on campus. These are just a few of the things you can do to expand your Iowa experience.

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Tucked away in a corner room in Halsey Hall, a small group of students is busy rehearsing through the afternoon. Not an unusual sight for the building, which plays host to many dance rehearsals, but it seems doubtful anyone else in the building would practice a shadow dance and plan the details of a lion dance. It's also fairly safe to assume the five students are the only ones dancing to Vietnamese pop music, complete with Vietnamese lyrics. The students are members of the Vietnamese Student Association, and they are preparing for the Lunar New Year — Tet, the New Year's holiday based on the Lunar Calendar. The holiday will be observed Friday.

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The Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese holiday. The exact date depends on the traditional Chinese calendar — the Lunar Calendar, Nong Li — which was set by the 24 Solar Terms. These Terms help farmers know when it is best to plant their corps. The Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.

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As the number of international students attending the University of Iowa continues to grow, officials are offering a new program to help students integrate to Iowa and the United States comfortably. Starting next fall, incoming international students will have not only a three-day orientation, but for the first half of the semester, they will take an online course, and the second half of the semester, they will meet with mentors to help get better integrated at the university.

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Ashlee Baeten studied abroad on three continents on four different programs and still managed to graduate in three and a half years. In this article she tells about her experiences on these programs. Learn about short-term and faculty-led programs like these at next week's spring Study Abroad Fair Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the University Capitol Centre, second floor.

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Would you like to teach English, study, or do research abroad for an academic year at no cost? Join International Programs for the second-annual intensive Fulbright U.S. Student Program Workshop on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre.

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The spring 2014 Fulbright Lunch & Learn seminar series kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 29. Bring your lunch, and learn from alumni and current grantees about their Fulbright experiences. Presentations will last 20-30 minutes, allowing time for discussion and socializing. All meetings will be held in University Capitol Centre Room 1117.

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This winter break, I was able to change some of my original opinions about the United States through a month of traveling. I had the chance to visit many places on the East Coast and spend time with my friends. First, Christmas was not what I imagined. I found there was almost no one on the streets, and it was even difficult to find an open restaurant, bar, or anywhere to stay during the night.

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Have you considered studying abroad but aren’t sure where to begin? Stop by the study abroad spring fair and start your journey! Visit the study abroad fair Wednesday, January 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second floor of the University Capitol Centre to learn about short-term and faculty-led study abroad programs all over the world.

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Leah Jessen, a University of Iowa finance major from Waukee, Iowa, recently returned from the trip of a lifetime in Europe. She enrolled in the winter session study abroad program in London offered by Tippie College of Business and filled her schedule to the brim with sightseeing when she wasn’t in class.

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UI Study Abroad Advisor Sarah McNitt has won five consecutive Jeopardy! games. McNitt will play her sixth game and attempt to add to her $89,398 winnings on Tuesday’s episode.

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What would it be like to have an indelible memory, so that every detail of existence was instantly inscribed in the brain? Imagine being able to remember every day of your life, every dream, every slight, every spoken word. Cultural memory is the intriguing subject of Friday night’s WorldCanvass program at the University of Iowa. Join us at 5 p.m. Friday in the Senate Chamber of Old Capitol Museum.

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Civil unrest in Nigeria did not detract from the public health mission that took microbiologist Jeff Benfer to West Africa in September. In fact, one of the memories that sticks with Benfer, supervisor of virology and molecular biology, is the friendliness of the people he encountered.

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Kaleb Taylor was the first UI Master of Accountancy student to participate in the new Rotterdam exchange program. He spent six months enrolled in classes and absorbed the culture of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands and home to the largest European port.

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What do we remember and why? Are the narratives that define us accurate portrayals or manipulations of the historical reality? What do we embellish and what do we purge from our collective memory? Host Joan Kjaer and her guests on WorldCanvass will discuss these questions and more on Friday, January 24, when the topic is cultural memory and commemoration.

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This winter break will be different for me — it will be the first time I’ll spend it in the United States. Because of this, I suddenly realized it would also be my first American Christmas, and I have no idea what to expect. In China, we also celebrate Christmas but not like how most Americans celebrate.

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Anna Kolpakova has turned baking into a hobby since she moved to Iowa City in June with her Czech husband David Pisa, who is completing postdoctoral research in physics at the University of Iowa. She spends at least one afternoon a week making cakes, having started baking “just for fun” and to alleviate boredom, she said. The boredom comes with her status as the dependent of a visiting scholar, and other temporary Iowans at the state’s public universities are dealing the same problem.

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Social networks play a large role in the life of a college student. For me specifically, I have found my kindergarten friends through Chinese social networks, researched information on universities through Twitter, and even found an apartment through Facebook. On American social networks, people can say what they want and share opinions on various topics without being constrained. But in China, not all words can be said because the government controls our freedom of speech.

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Bridges International will host a Christmas party for all UI students on Friday at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center to introduce American traditions to all who attend. The group is part of Iowa City for Campus Crusade for Christ’s international ministry.

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In 1885, Jin Yunmei, a young woman from China, received her medical degree from the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, becoming the first female Chinese on record to have a U.S. education. It was a time when few Chinese men had the opportunity to study abroad, while the overwhelming majority of women remained uneducated. China is now the world’s second largest economy. Its students now count for the largest population of international students in America. Plus, there are far more Chinese females on U.S. campuses.

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University of Iowa junior Xinran Gu hasn’t spent time with her parents since June, and the idea of seeing them over winter break helps her push through finals week. “I feel very excited because they have never traveled to America, and this will be their first time,” she said. “They have a lot of questions … and they want to explore more.”

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This article takes a look at three UI student experiences through Continental Crossings, an organization that was formed in 2006 by a group of UI civil engineering students who wanted to combine academics with a desire to assist communities in developing countries. With the help of a nonprofit organization called Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), the student group designs and builds pedestrian bridges, the first of which was constructed in 2007 in Peru. UI was the first of several universities to partner with Bridges to Prosperity.

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If you’ve studied abroad through the University of Iowa sometime in the past 30 years, there’s a good chance you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Maria Hope. She’s been with Study Abroad at the UI since its inception in the early 1980s, first in a clerical position and eventually as the university’s first, and for many years only, study abroad advisor. Hope recently retired from the UI after more than three decades of helping students identify and achieve their study abroad goals. In this article she reflects on her career and gives advice to future students on getting the most out of their international experience.

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Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break? Did you eat well, rest well, and study well? For most American students, it seemed as if all of you went back home to your families to enjoy the annual feast, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and delicious pies. But most international students, including me, prefer to travel around the United States, even some of the world, because a 12-hour flight back home is kind of expensive.

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Innovation has been a hallmark of American education since at least the time of Thomas Jefferson. The nature of that education, including who had access to it, has changed significantly during the last two centuries and continues to evolve today. The definition and achievement of educational excellence in higher education is on the cusp of potentially dramatic transformation, and the University of Iowa has become a leader in creating and assessing a number of innovative approaches to undergraduate teaching and learning.

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