International Accents

E.g., Friday, February 12, 2016
E.g., Friday, February 12, 2016

As an African American woman, meeting members of the African Diaspora in Greece was eye-opening. Many of the West African immigrants I met were first-generation transplants or seasonal workers, and as such their position within the larger Greek cultural fabric was a tenuous one. In a society where large-scale immigration is a newer phenomenon than it is in the United States, it was interesting to hear these immigrants' various opinions about life as a person of color in a European country.

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I have heard time and time again that studying abroad will help you grow as a person, but I had no idea how true that statement would be. While abroad I was challenged to adapt my behavior to different cultures. I learned simple language things such as "rubbish" being "garbage" in London to more challenging things as to how to order food in Dutch or how to navigate the Metra in Rome.

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My name is Kolie Eko, and I am a third year Microbiology major and undergraduate research assistant in the Bradley Jones Laboratory at The University of Iowa. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My family is a multicultural family; my father is from Cameroon, Africa, and my mother is from Calcutta, India. My extended family communicates in English, French, and several Asian and African languages. As far back as I can remember, there were signs of poverty, disease, hunger, and poor healthcare facilities in Cameroon where my father is from, in Kenya, where we lived, and in India, where my mother is from. That reality did not personally affect my brother and I. My parents were able to provide a comfortable life for our family. However, I could not understand the huge gap between the very rich and the very poor in India and Africa. I wished I could do something to help the many school age boys and girls who never went to school but lived and sometimes died on the streets in Nairobi.

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Though Roberto Ampuero will return to Iowa City today, he won’t return to his faculty position at the University of Iowa this spring semester. Instead, he’ll begin serving as the Chilean ambassador to Mexico in January.

“In the future, my students will not only enjoy having a professor who is at the same time an internationally published author but one who served as ambassador to such an important country as Mexico,” Ampuero wrote in an email.

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In today’s globalized world, more young people are looking for jobs, internships and volunteering opportunities abroad. Student interest has increased in this area at the University of Iowa over the past few years as well.

As one of the University’s strategic initiatives is to increase study abroad and internationalization, International Programs’ Study Abroad office has added a Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad (WIVA) advisor to assist students who are interested in this sort of experience.

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Chinese students have flocked to American universities in record numbers in recent years, and officials at Iowa’s regent universities say to keep up they have added advisers and counselors, formed committees to monitor the students’ needs and pay special attention to orientation and language programs.

“China has happened to the United States, period,” University of Iowa Director of Admissions Mike Barron said. “They just simply have a lot of well-qualified students that their own universities can’t handle.”

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Some novels deserve multiple readings. Some issues deserve sustained attention. And some relationships make things happen.

“Iowa and ‘Invisible Man’: Making Blackness Visible” will give audiences an opportunity to contemplate Ralph Ellison’s 1952 award-winning novel, “Invisible Man,” from a new perspective. With the help of the University of Iowa, Ellison’s fictional discussion of blackness also will join the ranks of great drama.

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Ida Beam visitor and world percussionist Michael Spiro will present a free public lecture Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, from noon to 1 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre about his extensive travel to Cuba and how those experiences have shaped his ideas about teaching.

Spiro’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned in Cuba: Integrating Traditional Wisdom with Modern Pedagogy,” will explore how his ideas on teaching have evolved and developed as a result of his early visits to Cuba, especially in relation to his work developing cu

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The upcoming third annual University of Iowa European Studies Conference will explore such diverse environmental topics as cinematic landscapes and green politics, modernization and ecological awareness in France, and how environmental concerns are portrayed in popular culture.

The multidisciplinary “Green Politics II” conference will be Dec. 2 and 3, 2011, in Room 315 Phillips Hall on the UI campus. All events are free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

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As you travel far and wide (or not) for Thanksgiving, remember that there is an opportunity for you to travel farther and wider still: with a Stanley Grant, which offers UI grad students up to $2500 for international research.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m., come down to Sanctuary for a special Speakeasy for Stanley, where your colleagues and recent Stanley Grant recipients Kendra Greene, Lucas Mann, Inara Verzemnieks and Mieke Eerkens will offer us exciting tales of (research-based) adventure across the globe.

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A weeklong Ida Beam residency by Latin percussionist Michael Spiro in the University of Iowa School of Music will include a free Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City, and a Latin Jazz Festival for high school jazz bands, including a free concert at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Parish Hall of the Trinity Episcopal Church at 320 E. College St.

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Next week marks University of Iowa senior Linshan Li’s fourth Thanksgiving celebration. The Friends of International Students board members say more families are needed to help UI international students— such as Li — experience the American holidays.

And that’s where people such as Maria Ortega Kummer come in.

“I really hated to think that there were any students in Iowa City with no place to go on Thanksgiving,” said the Friends of International Students board member and Thanksgiving matching organizer. “Why don’t we at least try to link them for dinner?”

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Turkish author and columnist Mustafa Akyol will present a lecture titled “Muslim Liberalism: Is It Ever Possible?” Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, at 5:15 p.m. in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. This event is free and open to the public.

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The University of Iowa Opera Studies Forum (OSF) will continue its 2011-12 lecture series coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD theater screenings with a talk on Handel’s “Rodelinda” Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, presented by Michael Eckert. All lectures take place at 5:30 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre conference seminar room 2520D and are free and open to the public.

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On WorldCanvass: Iowa and Invisible Man, host Joan Kjaer and her guests will reflect on the life and work of Ralph Ellison and his place among other African-American writers of his era; the staging of Invisible Man, happening first at the UI; the benefits of integrating performance into the classroom as a teaching tool; and the history of African-Americans at the UI and in Iowa.

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“‘Down and Out’ but in the ‘Works’: Homeless Soldiers and Homeless Youth in German Literature and Film” is the topic of a Dec. 9, 2011, lecture by Kirsten E. Kumpf of the UI Department of German.

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International students at the University of Iowa spent more than $83 million in the state last year, according to a report released recently by an international education association.

Nationwide, foreign students spent $20.3 billion during the 2010-2011 school year.

NAFSA: Association of Educators produced the financial analysis using enrollment figures compiled by the Institute of International Education.

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Kariuki Maina has a lot to learn about United States culture before he’ll feel comfortable.

And for that reason, the Kenyan said he has actively sought out University of Iowa programs, such as the International Programs, to help acclimate himself to Western life.

Roughly 20 people, including Maina, gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UI International Programs Tuesday evening.

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The number of international students enrolling in American colleges and universities grew at a faster clip in 2010 than a year earlier, reaching an all-time high of 723,277. But the growth was heavily reliant on two countries: China and Saudi Arabia, according to data released this week by the Institute of International Education.

The explosion of interest among Chinese students continued unabated, with numbers rising more than 23 percent—the fourth year of double-digit increases. Meanwhile, Saudi students, while coming in much smaller numbers, benefited from generous government scholarships, expanding their presence by 44 percent.

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International student enrollment at the University of Iowa, as well as study abroad participation by UI students, have continued to grow faster than national trends. This is according to data released today by the Institute of International Education through its annual Open Doors report.

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Each year, two students who show exemplary Hawkeye spirit are selected to represent the University of Iowa’s student body as its Homecoming king and queen.

Those two students are chosen not by election, but through a process that includes a written application, reference letters, and an interview. Candidates are considered for the honor based on their leadership, scholarship, and service, as well as their enthusiasm for the university.

This year, seniors Wei Du, a finance and accounting major from Jinan, China, and Kevin Velovitch, a finance and management major from Noblesville, Ind., were chosen to wear the crowns.

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As local communities such as Iowa City become more globally diverse, university officials say foreign-language education becomes critical.

“When you study a foreign language … you learn about yourself in the context of foreign cultures,” said Steve Ungar, a University of Iowa professor of cinema/comparative literature.

This year, the UI held its first Adopt-A-Language Fair on Nov. 11 to kick-off International Education Week by promoting foreign languages less commonly studied by university students.

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At 5:00 p.m. on November 11th, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber, Joan Kjaer will host a very special edition of WorldCanvass where, in addition to a full program that is free and open to the public, University of Iowa President Sally Mason will present the second annual International Impact Award to Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson. Former acting archivist of the United States, founding executive director of the Open Society Archives, and director of archives and records management for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Peterson’s achievements are of the very highest order. The award recognizes her tenacious commitment, sometimes in the face of intimidation, to the protection and appropriate dissemination of documents that tell truths that some would rather never be told. Through her work, records that have been subject to the ravages of war are given a voice to reveal abuses of power that otherwise may never have come to light.

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While the number of students studying abroad in India is booming, the number of University of Iowa students learning the subcontinent’s major language is stagnant.

Philip Lutgendorf, a UI professor of Hindi, said the traveling trend hasn’t “translated into more students enrolling in Hindi courses.”

Twenty-five UI students studied abroad in India in the 2006-07 school year. This number more than quadrupled to 115 students last school year.

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The University of Iowa Opera Studies Forum (OSF) will continue its 2011-12 lecture series coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD theater screenings with a talk on Glass’s “Satyagraha” Wednesday, Nov. 16, presented by Paul Greenough. All lectures take place at 5:30 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre conference seminar room 2520D and are free and open to the public.

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