University of Iowa

Meet our 2018 Spring Study Abroad Bloggers!

January 18th, 2018

bloggers

We're excited to announce our Study Abroad Bloggers for the spring 2018 semester! These unique individuals were selected from a competitive pool of writers to tell the story of their destination and represent the voice of University of Iowa students while abroad. Throughout the semester, these students will share their experiences through writing and photography to be published weekly here on International Accents. 

Interested in becoming a Study Abroad Blogger yourself? Visit http://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/living-abroad/blogging for more information.

Fatima

Fatima Tall

Fatima Tall is a creative writing and gender, women's and sexuality studies major at the University of Iowa, who will be spending her semester in Dakar, Senegal, on the SIT Senegal Global Security and Religious Pluralism program

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I have ALWAYS known that I’ve wanted to travel beyond U.S. borders. I knew that there were opportunities and experiences I could never attain in America and that studying abroad would give me a chance to see so much more of the world. Experiencing the world not only helps shape individual identity but it creates a deep understanding of people, which can create healthier and more compassionate communities. 

How did you pick your program?
I was having coffee with a good friend one day and she told me SIT was offering a program in Senegal. As soon as I got home I applied to the program immediately. I had always dreamed of going to my father's home country and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore my Senegalese identity while also earning college credit. 

What are you most excited about?
I am most excited to see family and explore a culture I never got to experience in America. On an academic level, I'm excited to research and observe the way black identity thrives in a country that is homogeneously black, as well as looking into the roles of gender in a predominately Islamic society. Overall, it will be amazing to be fully immersed in Senegalese food, music, and language. 

emily s

Emily Smith

Emily Smith is a global health major at the University of Iowa. A native of Cedar Rapids, IA, and 2018 Gilman Scholarship awardee, she will be spending her semester in Durban, South Africa on the SIT South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy program

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I realized I wanted to study abroad when I was a sophomore in high school. I was taking AP European history and noticed that most of the respected people in history often extended their education outside of their home environment. I realized then that I cannot respect what I think I know until I push myself beyond the mold I started from. 

How did you pick your program?
I chose this program because I am very passionate about global health and public health, and South Africa is the pinnacle of understanding the relationship between social determinants and quality of healthcare. 

What are you most excited about?
Honestly, I’m most excited about the culture shock. I’m excited to be removed from my comfort zone, to challenge what I think I know, and to grow as a person in the process.

Onae parker

Onae Parker

Onae Parker is a linguistics and Japanese major at the University of Iowa. Winner of a 2018 Gilman International Scholarship award, she will be spending the semester in Tokyo, Japan, as part of the University of Meiji Exchange program

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I’ve been wanting to study abroad since eighth or ninth grade. My determination to do this started before I had even picked what colleges to apply to. And so this may be the nearest I’ve come to a dream come true! 

How did you pick your program?
I was already set on traveling to Japan, but with invaluable help and advice from my advisor, I decided on the Meiji Exchange program because of its location, wide variety of course options, and the unique opportunity to study with regular Japanese students as an exchange student. 

What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about exploring, in both senses of the word. I want to go where no tourist has gone before and discover the many treasures and surprises tucked away in Tokyo; however, I also look forward to exploring myself as an individual, both academically and personally. 

Lindsey Towle

Lindsey Towle

Lindsey Towle is a journalism and global health major at the University of Iowa, who will be spending her semester in Montevideo, Urugauy, in a program administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC).

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
Studying abroad has always been a part of my plan. It was really encouraged by my parents and it seemed like such a great option to live in another country while also working towards a degree.

How did you pick your program?
I decided to study in Uruguay because I knew that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am intrigued by the beachy atmosphere, the liberal politics, and the lifestyle. 

What are you most excited about?
I am most excited to get to deeply know a country that is not my own. I feel sheltered from other cultures in the United States and I am eager to broaden my views.

Hannah M

Hanna Malzenski

Hanna Malzenski is a journalism major pursuing a certificate in sustainability at the University of Iowa. She will be spending her semester in Byron Bay, Australia, on the SIT Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action program.

How did you pick your program?
I knew I wanted to go abroad before I came to college. I knew that if the opportunity was available, I would jump on it. I planned my class schedule around the possibility of going abroad which meant a couple semesters of 18 credit hours (worth it). At the end of my sophomore year, the only thing left to do was find the fitting program!

How did you pick your program?
I chose my program based on my certificate program. I am a journalism major with a sustainability certificate and there was no way I could go abroad without getting course credit to one of those areas. I found SIT's Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action program through Iowa's study abroad program search portal. This program fits perfectly in with my certificate course requirements!

What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the relationships I will make while in Australia! I don't know anyone in the program so I am looking forward to meeting students from all over and sharing this experience with them as well as the people we will meet through our program.

claire harmeyer

Claire Harmeyer

Claire Harmeyer is a journalism major pursuing a certificate in writing at the University of Iowa. A native of Des Moines, IA, she will be studying in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Anglo American University

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I have known that I wanted to study abroad in college since I was in high school. I have always loved traveling and adventures of all sorts, but when my family traveled to Spain in 2014 to visit my sister who was studying abroad, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to experience four months' worth of new sights, sounds, smells, and most of all, people.

How did you pick your program?
I was intrigued by several programs when I began my search for the right place to study abroad, but when I dove deeper into CEA and Anglo American University, it really stood out. There were endless options for exciting journalism classes, pictures of ornate classrooms, and of course, the breathtaking city of Prague seemed magical. I read student blogs on CEA's website, and the descriptions of the experiences of students who have studied in Prague were exciting, impactful, and unique. I wanted to experience that myself.

What are you most excited about?
I'm excited about so many things, but most of all, I can't wait to become an expert on the city of Prague. I'm eager to learn about everything on the winding cobblestone streets - the cafes, castles, museums, parks, restaurants, and more. It's an amazing opportunity to be able to live in a European city for four months, so I want to take full advantage and make Prague my second home.

lee ann

Lee Ann Pelletier

Lee Ann Pelletier is an English and creative writing major at the University of Iowa, who will be spending her semester at L’Université Lumière Lyon 2 in France as part of the USAC Lyon program

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
In my sophomore year of high school, I took part in a two-week exchange program with a school in Toulouse, France. I loved experiencing the culture and food, and I knew I wanted to go back someday.

How did you pick your program?
My family is French Canadian, so I have always wanted to learn more about how the French live. My grandparents used to speak French but since then the language hasn't been used much by the kids in my generation. I hope to bring back the tradition by improving my language skills. Lyon seemed the perfect place to do that.

What are you most excited about?
The food! When I was in Toulouse five years ago, my host family bought me some chocolatine my first morning over. It is a pastry with melted chocolate inside, and I have been craving it since I left! 

hannah g

Hannah Gellman

Hannah Gellman is an English and creative writing major at the University of Iowa. She will spend her semester in Fez, Morocco, as part of the Arabic Language and Culture in Morocco program

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I came into college intending to go abroad at some point during my four years, but when I started taking Arabic in my first semester, I knew I had to go abroad to really learn this language that I had become so taken with. Hearing my peers that had already returned from studying abroad in Morocco or elsewhere talk about their time abroad only further sealed the deal.  

How did you pick your program?
I knew that I wanted to go to a country where I could put the Arabic language skills I had acquired at Iowa into practice, and Morocco seemed like the best fit for me. I ended up choosing the University of Minnesota’s program because it is located in Fez, whereas many of the other available programs were housed in Rabat. After talking with my study abroad advisor, I felt that Fez would afford me more of the authentic Moroccan experience that I was looking for. 

What are you most excited about?
I have never traveled overseas, so I am looking forward to jumping right into living abroad! I am excited to live in a place that’s completely different from anywhere I’ve ever visited, let alone lived, and to finally get the chance to use Arabic outside of the classroom. 

jillian

Jillian Swanson

Jillian Swanson is an English and anthropology major at the University of Iowa. She will be spending her semester in Rabat, Morocco, as part of the SIT Morocco Multiculturalism and Human Rights program.

When did you know you wanted to go abroad?
I've traveled abroad with my family before, and while doing touristy things is fun for a while, but even from the time I was about eleven, I just wanted to know the places more in depth. Studying abroad and living somewhere for months sounded like a good way to answer questions I had: what's it like to live here? 

How did you pick your program?
I knew I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten path, not for the hipster cred, but because of the unique opportunities study abroad provides. I wanted something I wouldn't necessarily have a chance to try otherwise. I chose SIT after my adviser recommended it for students looking to get honors credit abroad, and the Morocco program seemed perfect. Off the beaten path? Check. I speak at least one major language (French)? Check. Challenging program? Check. Program about multiculturalism and human rights that got my anthropology brain tingling? Check. 

What are you most excited about?
I've only moved once in my life, so I'm so excited to live someplace new, meet new people, step out of my comfort zone. I'm also excited for the homestay; it's one of the reasons I chose this program!

 
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