The University of Iowa

Tagged with "cultural differences"

CIEE Beijing Study Abroad Program

Beijing Reflections

Back in Iowa City after half a year in Beijing, I am struggling with re-adjustment. The process goes like this: watch four Star Wars movies on the flight back, half-heartedly suggest family Easter dinner at the Beijing Buffet on the Coralville strip, get car towed because a certain private parking lot has strengthened enforcement protocols, swerve at the sight of newly sprouted condominiums three houses down from my home, scroll through photo albums of China adventures, obsessively check friends’ WeChat updates, try to retrieve the part of me that is still sleeping and waking in Beijing time. Perhaps retrieval will come by way of writing and reflecting.
Elise, Caroline, Katherine (and Tom)

Conversations Over Tea

I’ve been in England just over a week, and while the world may say America and England both speak English, I have encountered several word discrepancies, and not just the commonly known “chips” = “french fries” and “crisps” = “chips.” No, there are so many more differences. For example, just like how in the US, some people say “supper” rather than “dinner” for the final meal of the day, people in England sometimes use “tea” rather than “dinner” as the final meal.
photo of yakisoba, a Japanese dish

The Way to a Man's Heart

Let me tell you all something. I’ve been here in Japan for a little over two months now. During this time I have seen some amazing things, made some great friends, and had some incredible experiences. But do you know what has really gotten me excited during my time in this wondrous land? If you haven’t been able to guess by the title, it’s the food…the absolutely wonderful food.

On Moroccan Pedagogy

Back in August, I was told that Al Akhawayn University was designed on the American system, differing from most universities of the world in that it involves a “liberal arts” education. Students don’t just study within their specialization, but a wide range of subjects in a way that is meant to broaden one’s worldview and train in critical thinking. But I’m discovering that while you can take the professor out of the Moroccan university, it’s harder to take the Moroccan university out of the professor. Even though the university is “American” in style, that doesn’t change the way individual professors conduct their classes. As a result, I’ve been learning the hard way what it’s like to attend an actual Moroccan university from my two language professors with whom I have a love/hate relationship.

Breaking free from the comfort zone

Moving to another country to study abroad for a year is the definition of getting out of one’s comfort zone. Caitlin and I were both propelled out of our comfort zones as soon as we got on an airplane alone. Luckily, branching out is rewarding as well as challenging. One of my most important goals while studying abroad is to get out of the so-called “American bubble” and challenge myself to meet and talk to students from other parts of the world. This does not mean that traveling with or having American friends while abroad is a bad thing. I am very grateful that I met a fellow Iowa student while here and appreciate that she can relate when I am feeling homesick and want to talk about home. However, the connections I have made with people in Ireland and other international students are equally as important to me and open my mind to new experiences and perspectives. I interviewed Caitlin about her ideas regarding the “American bubble” and her advice for getting out of it.

Is it possible to 'copy and paste' this stuff?

As anyone who has visited a foreign country can tell you, they have usually seen a different way of doing things that make them wonder, ‘Why don’t they do that where I’m from?” Therefore, today I thought it would be fun to look back at the things I’ve noticed here in Japan and list some of the smaller things I think would be great to introduce into American society.