International Accents

E.g., Saturday, August 1, 2015
E.g., Saturday, August 1, 2015

Before arriving in America, Guan Su Jie, a 21-year-old University of Iowa international student, expected to spend her first week meeting new friends and exploring campus. But two days before arriving in Iowa City, she was told she would be unexpectedly moved to the Lodge, an apartment complex located nearly two miles away from campus. Now, Jie feels she is “missing out on the atmosphere.”

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After more than one year of planning and traveling some 12,000 miles round trip, Scott King is seeing the hard work pay off. King, assistant dean of International Programs for International Students and Scholars (OISS) at the University of Iowa, will discuss how the UI is one of the first Big Ten universities to welcome Iraqi students this fall as part of the Iraqi Education Initiative. He will share his insights at the debut of the 2010-11 Iowa City Foreign Relations Council luncheon-lecture series, which begins at noon Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010, at the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City.

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International Programs’ Confucius Institute at The University of Iowa will continue to offer Mandarin Chinese classes to community members and families starting Sept. 1.

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Ed Folsom, Roy J. Carver professor of American Literature at the UI, will present “’A spirt of my own seminal wet’: Spermatoid Design in Walt Whitman’s 1860 Leaves of Grass” on Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 3:30-5 p.m at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A. This event is free and open to the public.

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The University of Iowa has once again been selected as one of only eight institutions in the U.S. to host Fulbright students from around the world for the Fulbright Gateway Orientation. Gateway students will go on to pursue graduate degrees in various subjects at institutions across the United States and the orientation prepares these students for all facets of their American experience.

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An estimated 500 to 550 new undergraduate international students will arrive on the University of Iowa campus this fall, making this year’s incoming class the largest ever for international undergraduate students in UI history. This number is up from 364 international undergraduate students last year, said Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs, representing a greater than 50 percent increase from last year.

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I am firmly convinced that all students should have foreign opportunities whether in high school, university, or law school. Many universities have increased or are actively trying to augment their students going abroad. On the law school level, this could be done by encouraging folks to go after their first year summer, or during intercessions, spring break, entire semesters or a full year.

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North Korea’s red, white, and blue flag flutters on the campus, signs are written in Hangul, and female students stroll through the corridors wearing the traditional jeogori costume. Professors lecture beneath iconic portraits of the father-and-son hereditary dictatorship that has run the reclusive Stalinist state since 1948.

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Like an airline overselling a flight, the University of Iowa extended admission this year to several thousand more applicants than it could accommodate on campus in this fall’s freshman class. While nearly every university overbooks each year, relying on sophisticated algorithms that predict just how many admitted students will probably go elsewhere, Iowa officials were surprised to learn this spring how far off they were in their math. This fall’s freshman class is likely to have more than 400 more students than last year’s, an unintended increase of about 10 percent, for a total of just over 4,500.

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“Students have given very little thought to how their study abroad has shaped and prepared them for the world of work. In other words, graduating seniors have flunked one of their most important exams—the hiring interview—because they were not prepared with appropriate examples of skills required from their international experiences.”

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WorldCanvass® enters its second season on September 10, 2010, when the topic is “Documenting Humanity: A Sense of Place.”

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“It’s a small place but it’s a big place.” So says law professor Peter Shirlow from Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Shirlow isn’t talking about Belfast but about Iowa City, his destination 24 years ago when he won a prestigious Stanley Scholarship to study at the University of Iowa. The Stanley award allowed him to come to the UI for a year’s study and, just as importantly, to Iowa City where he established close friendships that have remained strong in spite of distance and the passage of time.

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Why Portuguese?– A question that Geoffrey Hilsabeck didn’t always have a clear answer for when he started learning the language in 2008 while attending the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. With the support of a Fulbright fellowship grant, Hilsabeck just finished a year studying Portuguese poetry and teaching a class in U.S. history and culture at the University of Lisbon.

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Most of the 22 South Korean teachers welcomed to the University of Iowa campus on Monday had never been to the United States before. But not Kim Yong Kik, who previously visited Chicago. He feels Iowa is “more peaceful.” Kim, a mathematics and science teacher, will spend two weeks at the UI with his Korean colleagues attending a teaching workshop in which they will learn about the American approach to gifted education, the visiting teachers’ specialty area. They will also share their experiences in their home country.

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John Giammatteo, an upcoming senior studying Anthropology at Syracuse University, was a participant during fall 2009 in the University of Iowa’s “Semester in South India” program in Mysore, India. As part of an academic assignment, John conducted a research project in the city of Chennai (formerly Madras) that involved interviewing refugees who had been stranded in India for years during the civil war that raged between separatist Tamil Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka. In November 2009 he also was a student rapporteur and participant in a workshop held in Mysore that delved into the problem of involuntary removal of rural populations in South Asia due to two causes: large-scale development projects and high-impact natural disasters. John is currently in Thailand completing his Honors Capstone fieldwork, researching with Karen migrants in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot.

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Gifted education practices are very different in South Korea than in the United States. “Gifted education is a far more established field, both for research and practice, in the United States,” said Laurie Croft, professional development administrator with the University of Iowa College of Education’s Belin-Blank Center. To share some of that knowledge and expertise, Croft is helping organize a July 18-31 visit of 22 Korean teachers to the UI campus and local community.

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There’s been a lot of buzz about the new Iraqi Educational Initiative, as well there should be. The sheer number of expected students—50,000 over a five-year period—would capture anyone’s imagination. But coming from a nation that has been so marginalized for such a long period of time, the initiative can’t help but make one stop and think about what an impact this could have.

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Organizers for the “One Community, One Book” program have announced their selection of the book they hope all Johnson County residents will read in 2010: “Gardens of Water” by Alan Drew. The novel tells the story of a devout Muslim family and an American Christian family in Turkey during and after a massive earthquake near Istanbul.

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UI staff member Helen Jameson uses her experiences from dealing with her dyslexia to help others find their creative paths to success. Jameson remembers reading aloud in third grade, struggling to make sense of a jumble of letters that were scrambled before her eyes.

In 1968, Jameson was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that manifests itself as a difficulty with reading decoding, reading comprehension, and/or reading fluency. Since this was before the time of accommodations, Jameson and her parents simply chose to have her repeat the third grade.

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This longtime UI law faculty member’s passion for human rights has resulted in humanitarian efforts close to home and across the globe. In his almost 45 years at The University of Iowa, Burns Weston has significantly shaped the way the University promotes international studies and global human rights—and at 76 years old, he has no plans of stopping. “I love it too much, what I do,” he says. “Why quit?”

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By Lois Gray

USA TODAY has named University of Iowa 2010 graduate Alexandra Keenan to its annual All-USA College Academic Team, honoring her for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.

All-USA College Academic Team receive national recognition, a trophy and $2,500. These students excel in scholarship and reach beyond the classroom to benefit society.

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Alexandra Keenan was named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic First Team. Twenty students were chosen out of hundreds for first-team status, each receiving a $2,500 cash award. The article notes that the members of the 2010 team are “true global citizens,” and Keenan is no exception.

She helped lead a team of students who designed a handheld water sanitizer, a project that was awarded an EPA sustainable design grant and was named one of Discover Magazine‘s “10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World.” She studied non-governmental organizations in India and then advocated for cervical cancer screening at a hospital in Madurai, which has since implemented a community-based screening program. She managed the daily care of 12 HIV-positive children at an orphanage in Tonal, Mexico, and helped develop a diagnostic technique for a deadly parasitic disease and then taught it to scientists at a university in India. She is a Goldwater Scholar and was named one of Glamour magazine’s “Top 10 College Women” in 2009.

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After 15 years of teaching about South Asia in the classroom, I took a group of students to India for a three week study abroad course entitled International Development: Gender and Justice.

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“21st century diplomacy takes more than government to government interaction — it also requires substantial people to people contact in which we try as directly as possible to reach people through governments, around governments, and under governments in every way possible.” — Hilary Clinton

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Katelyn McBride, a recent University of Iowa graduate, studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during the spring of 2009. View her testimonial, including photos of her favorite memories, and see why study abroad is the experience of a lifetime.

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