The University of Iowa

Community, Academic & Cultural Resources and Training

This section of our website is meant to serve as a reference guide for international students and scholars at the University of Iowa.

Student Life and Activities

This page includes information on how to make connections with campus and community groups such as Friends of International Students, the International Women's Club (also available to J-1 scholars and their spouses), join ISSS programs such as Friends Without Borders or the Bridging Domestic and Global Diversity leadership program, learn about numerous student organizations and ways to get involved both on and off campus.

Intercultural Training Opportunities with ISSS

ISSS offers several workshops and programs for students, staff, and faculty that help increase intercultural awareness and skill building, improve recognition of the ways in which culture impacts behaviors, values, beliefs, and our interactions in and out of the classroom, and the experiences international students and scholars frequently have while in the U.S.  Custom workshops can also be created for departments and organizations upon request.

Programs and Resources to help adjust to living in the U.S.

The Guide to Living in Iowa City covers more detailed but often confusing information on topics such as banking, driver's license, transportation systems, communication services, housing, safety, information for families, and Iowa weather to name a few.

Our page on Cultural Adjustment includes useful information on American values, dealing with culture shock, nonverbal communication, relationships with Americans, religion, and communication suggestions.

The Life in Iowa program is an extended orientation series throughout the year that offers workshops on academics, cultural events, career information, and social events.

Soumya Venkitakrishnan

International student profile: Soumya Venkitakrishnan

Initially enrolled as a PhD student in speech and hearing science, Venkitakrishnan soon added the AUD (clinical doctorate in audiology) program. “There are a lot of challenges that come with being a combined PhD and AUD student, but my department has helped me manage clinical schedules and teaching assignments and my research advisor has been very understanding, “ says Venkitakrishnan. “I love my department. I realize why it is ranked so highly as one of the best programs—my department has been really supportive of everything I have wanted to do.”
Nafisa Kamal Ayntee

From Bangladesh to Iowa: Embracing the Shared Learning Culture

Nafisa Kamal Ayntee spent her early years traveling throughout South Asia. Her father’s career as an agriculturalist, working to support a variety of NGOs, resulted in the family relocating multiple times. One significant move was to the Maldives when Nafisa was five years old. Not only was this a remarkable time due to the birth of her younger sister, it was also when Nafisa was first introduced to the English language
Sachidanand (Aviral) Pandey, UI class of 2022

From India to Iowa: Finding a Home and His True Self

Aviral recalls the first three months at the UI as an exciting time, but not without its challenges. Beyond learning how to balance studies, he found himself struggling to make social connections. “Initially, I think I was trying to be someone I wasn’t in order to fit in. It was pretty stressful and really tiring. I finally decided to quit worrying about how to act and just be me. This is when everything started to change.”
Ayushi Sood, international student from Ambala, India

International student spotlight: Ayushi Sood

Finishing her second year as a microbiology major at the University of Iowa, Ayushi Sood says she couldn’t have asked for a better experience. “I have grown so much as a person since I have been at Iowa,” said Sood. “As an international student, my experience has been that people are so welcoming here, which makes me feel that I am an essential part of the university.”
Siau-Tong Ding at Kinnick Stadium

International student spotlight: Siau-Tong Ding

Following in the footsteps of her mother, a University of Iowa PhD alumna, Siau-Tong Ding enrolled as an undergraduate in 2018. Born and raised in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, Ding came to Iowa City to double-major in environmental policy and planning and anthropology. Now, in preparation for her third year at the university, she is also considering minors in geography or a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS).
Sojeong Nam, doctoral candidate, counselor education and supervision

From South Korea to Iowa: In her father’s footsteps

Sojeong Nam is a PhD candidate in the counselor education and supervision program at the University of Iowa. The inspiration to attend the UI may have come from her father, Dr. Sangin Nam, who, over 30 years earlier, graduated from the same doctoral program at the UI, holding the distinction of being the first international student from South Korea to do so.