International Accents

E.g., Sunday, October 26, 2014
E.g., Sunday, October 26, 2014

Alumni and friends of the University of Iowa are invited to join Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs, and Alec Scranton, dean of UI College of Engineering, at an alumni reception in Hong Kong on Monday, August 4.

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Living in another country is definitely an experience that plummets you into the unknown. Everything you’re used to is completely turned upside down. It’s a scary, yet freeing feeling that creates independence at a whole new level. Nevertheless, adapting can sometimes be overwhelming when everywhere you look is unfamiliar. Here is my take on a few of the biggest challenges of living abroad from my experiences this summer.

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Well, I’ve passed the halfway mark and I am officially in panic mode. I finished my first class, took the final, got to spend ten days with my mom while she visited, have started class #2, and now only have 23 days left of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I feel like a broken record… but WHERE is the time going? Cheesy, but time really does fly when you’re having fun. Here's a summary of my trip through Florence, Rome, and the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany.

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Though I certainly do feel little pangs of sadness when reminiscing on my favorite UK memories, I can definitely say I have gained a stronger appreciation for my life here in the states as well. For my final entry, I’ve decided to compile a “top 10” list of tips and things I’ve learned, so that whoever’s reading might have some fresh advice on how to have a successful study abroad experience...

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It’s midnight in the north of Sweden, just below the Arctic Circle, and I can’t fall asleep. It’s not because I’m anxious or had one too many cups of coffee (which is often the case) but because the sun never sets! Most homes and hotels have blackout blinds or curtains, but my current home, a tent, doesn’t. I decided, after a few restless nights, that I should buy a sleep mask. In the end, I have to admit, camping in the beautiful nature that surrounds me is well worth the lackluster quality of sleep I’ve had.

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I recently completed a 5-day field study to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Bratislava, Slovakia. What an amazing way to learn about the different cultures. Here are some highlights form Budapest and Bratislava.

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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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