The University of Iowa

China to catch graduation

May 14th, 2014

By Abigail Meier for The Daily Iowan

Parents halfway across the world will now be able to experience their children’s graduations without the hassle of traveling more than 6,500 miles.

On Saturday’s University of Iowa Tippie College of Business graduation ceremony, family members, friends, and potential international students in China will be able to watch the ceremony through a narrated version of a live-stream broadcast.

“This provides a more visual and active way for others in China to experience the real UI culture and gives them an image of what the university looks like,” said Star Shen, a UI freshman and member of AiCheng magazine, a UI student organization run by international students.

AiCheng will partner with UI Video Services, International Programs, and the Admission’s Office to provide the streaming.

The UI is the only school in the Big Ten to provide this service.

Joan Kjaer, the director of strategic communications at the UI International Programs, said most international students at the university hail from China, and she believes there will be a high demand for the programming.

“Graduation is a thrilling moment in every student’s college experience, and the excitement isn’t limited to the student,” Kjaer said. “Parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and friends are all anxious to share the happy day, but some live too far away to physically attend the ceremony.”

She said the stream will allow the university to increase the knowledge people in China have of the UI by showcasing the university’s strengths and opportunities available to successful graduates.

“I think this is really important because it gives them the right idea of what American life is like at a college university,” Shen said. “… This is not only aimed at graduating seniors but promotes UI life to all UI international students.”

One UI student says this is a great opportunity for her parents to experience firsthand what life is like at the university. UI freshman Ye Yang said before her parents come to visit, they are nervous because they are not familiar with the campus’ culture.

“My parents are not directly provided with what life is like here,” Yang said. “They know nothing about American schools or the graduation celebration, and this can show them what the structure of graduation is like.”

As the trial run, Kjaer said, she hopes this will become an annual event. She hopes the university will be able to do more narrative broadcasts in other languages in the future.

UI freshman Wei Wei said this provides his parents an opportunity to feel as if they are participating in a significant life event even though they are halfway across the world.

“It feels like they are participating in my life, and they will know I gained some experience in a nice school,” Wei said. “From the ceremony, they will know I have become a strong man after four years, and they will know I am going to succeed.”

Read a commentary from UI President Sally Mason about commencement going international