By Stephen Pradarelli for Iowa Now 
China may lie 7,500 miles away from Iowa City as the dragon flies, but walk around the University of Iowa campus during the school year and you’ll overhear myriad conversations taking place in Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Asian languages and dialects.
Asia, and China in particular, not only has the fastest-growing economy in the world but is home to a large number of students, scientists, artists, and educators who flock to Iowa City to study, conduct research, and forge important partnerships. More than half (53.7 percent) of the UI’s total international student population last year—more than 3,200 in all—came from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and more than 90 percent of all UI undergraduate international students in fall 2011 were from East and Southeast Asia, far outpacing the national average.
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Additionally, nearly 100 Chinese and Taiwanese writers have participated in the UI’s International Writing Program .
The connection flows the other way, as well. Currently the UI holds 13 formal agreements with academic institutions in China, and last year 95 UI students traveled to China for study abroad experiences.
To help build on an already remarkable and fruitful relationship with the region, UI President Sally Mason today travels with a delegation to Asia on a trip that will run from June 29 to July 9 and include stops in Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, and Beijing.