Though English is dubbed the main language of commerce here in South Africa, there are still times (and by that I mean most times) that I find myself wondering what the heck was just said to me. The accent and slang used by the natives here makes things a bit confusing for both of us. I have accepted the fact that my coworkers think I have a hearing problem due the insane amount of times I ask “what?” when they speak to me. Though I have gotten used to it, I sometimes still find myself getting tripped up by the slang they use.

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Whether it’s the quest to build a better mousetrap or develop a promising new vaccine, it takes courage, inspiration, and out-of-the-box thinking to propel the creative spirit past stumbling blocks, early failures, and the sometimes tepid encouragement of others. It takes passion.

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As I mentioned last week, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Interlaken, Switzerland last weekend, and it was truly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I don’t know how anything will ever top the views of the mountains, bright blue lakes, and of course views of the town from the top of a mountain!

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A new report from University of Iowa International Programs shows the array of nationally-competitive grants and fellowships that UI alumni and students have received since 2009.

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Since I have been living and working in the city it has been easy to overlook the fact that I’m living in a nation that is still very much developing. I can see implications of poverty by the amount of homeless around the city but still not enough to make me really understand the destitution many face living here today. It wasn't until this past weekend when I visited a township called Langa that I really got it.

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I have never felt as though I belonged in Iowa — there was always a part of me that felt I needed to be elsewhere, be someone else. Last month, my dream of studying abroad came true in Madrid, Spain. Sangria, siestas, and sunshine were on the horizon.

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After returning to the U.S. from volunteering in the Republic of Georgia with the Peace Corps, two UI grads decided that they would like to share the culture of hospitality that they had learned from the Georgians and opened a food cart in Portland, Oregon, called Kargi GoGo, serving the Georgian fare they love.

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