UI Study Abroad Blogger

My class of twenty-four was split up into groups of four and five and sent out to different special needs schools in the Durban area. We went there to witness the structure of the institution, the funding allocated, and talk to the faculty about their experience working there. 

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9000 miles away and still proud to be a Hawkeye!
The sun rises around 5 a.m and the 72 roosters in the neighborhood begin their gossip. The taxi drivers fight the rooster crows with the habitual honking of their horns, and the neighborhood dogs bark in whatever little slips of silence are left. The mornings are bright, hot, and loud. Welcome to Cato Manor, my home away from home in Durban, South Africa.

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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. 

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bailie
Like many of my fellow bloggers, my time abroad is coming to a close. And as a result, I’ve found myself questioning if I’ve made the most of my time here because as we so often hear, studying abroad really is a once (or twice if you’re lucky) in a lifetime opportunity.

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A taste of China's park culture (notice the elderly, children, and badminton players in the background).
Peking University is ranked, along with Tsinghua University, among China’s premier institutions for higher education. The rigorous college entrance exam is the determining factor for students aspiring to enter the school’s rigorous academic environment. With that said, the Chinese education system is vastly different from American and Western education apparatuses. I am not fully matriculated at Peking University. Instead, I am enrolled in the School of Foreign Languages, which educates numerous international students that arrive in Beijing with varying language proficiencies.

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katie in the woods
Study abroad… have you heard about it? It changes your life. Yeah, I’m sure you have heard that one before. The thing is it's true, travel does something to you.

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Jacob eating
What we English speakers call sea lions Spanish speakers call lobos marinos. Lobo means wolf. For the last couple of days I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to rationalize this in my sunburnt head. When they first saw those chubby mustachioed sea beasts, how did they settle on wolf? In all fairness they don’t really look like lions either. If it were up to me I’d officially change their name to sea bears, or better yet sea puppy dogs.

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Welcome to WU! Thought I’d include some photos of the beautiful campus I’ve been calling home for this post
Ah, studying abroad. I’d often dreamt of what my experience studying abroad would be like—although, ironically, my dreams always lacked any of the actual studying part. I really didn’t spend too much time fantasizing about what classes would be like in a foreign country; I think part of me must have assumed that business courses are the same everywhere. And generally speaking, we do learn the same things: financial and managerial accounting, basic economics, statistics, etc. However, the way in which courses are structured and taught is a bit different.

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When I left campus, I decided I wanted to take a taxi back to my apartment. I asked my RA how to say the address and then I was off!

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friends - home
If you have heard Michael Buble’s Home, you will understand what this blog is about. These past couple weeks have been full of ups and downs. I am now just settling into a routine and trying to keep my living space clean. I go to campus every day except for Monday, which is when I do my laundry.

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