24 hours. That’s how fast Daniel Lowe’s life changed in March 2020. Lowe, a graduate of Lancaster University in Lancaster, United Kingdom, who studied abroad at the University of Iowa during the 2019-2020 academic year, found his time at Iowa cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When everything started shutting down in March 2020, I was on a spring break trip to Las Vegas when I received the news that I needed to head back to England,” said Lowe. “In the span of 24 hours, I travelled back to Iowa City, packed up my belongings and boarded a flight out of Cedar Rapids bound for London.”
Lowe has since graduated from Lancaster University in summer 2021, with an MPhys in physics, but his graduation ceremony was delayed until spring 2022 due to the pandemic.
“When I arrived at Iowa in fall 2019, I was handed a packet that said, ‘you’ll always be a Hawkeye’ and it included an Iowa graduation tassel for me to use at my future commencement ceremony at Lancaster,” said Lowe. “In the rush of leaving to get back to England due to the pandemic, I forgot my tassel, but now that I’m graduating, I figured I’d reach out and see if I could get one shipped to me.”
“I was only at Iowa for two semesters, but I grew a lot as a person in that time and feel like Iowa has played a big part in my life.”
Lowe chose to study abroad at the University of Iowa because of the physics and creative writing programs the university has, as he wanted to be somewhere where he could be surrounded by creative-minded people every day. While he enjoyed the academic courses he took at Iowa, it was through the Global Buddies program that he made some of his closest friends.
“Iowa was nothing like I expected,” explained Lowe. “In northern England, you don’t hear much about Iowa on the news, but when given the option of where to study, I chose Iowa because Iowa City looked like it’d be a good place to go to not be so overwhelmed in a new environment. When I arrived in fall 2019, everyone in Iowa was very friendly and it caught me off guard at first until I realized everyone genuinely wanted to help me. It was easy to make friends because I went to On Iowa, went to games at Kinnick Stadium, and really enjoyed meeting people through student organizations, Global Buddies, living in Mayflower, and at the dining hall.”
The connections Lowe formed at Iowa have continued over the years and with his commencement fast approaching, he reached out to Brandon Paulson, assistant director for International Students and Scholar Services in International Programs, to see if he could secure an Iowa tassel to commemorate his time studying at Iowa when he participates in Lancaster’s graduation ceremony.
“I was only at Iowa for two semesters, but I grew a lot as a person in that time and feel like Iowa has played a big part in my life,” said Lowe. “That’s why it was important for me to get a new tassel from Iowa so I can wear it alongside my Lancaster tassel; I’m proud of my time studying at both universities.”
In April, a new tassel was shipped out to Lowe for him to wear when he participates in his graduation ceremony because, as Lowe fondly remembers from his welcome packet to the university “once you’re a Hawkeye, you’ll always be a Hawkeye.”