UI Study Abroad Blogger

oming from January in Iowa, my first two impressions of Morocco were “Wow, all the colors are so bright!” and “Wow, it’s so warm!” The rich orange dirt contrasting with greenery and palms is stunning.

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Yesterday my group and I visited the Valley of a Thousand Hills to get a visual representation of what it feels like to be on top of the hill, looking down.

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taxi
Catching a taxi in Dakar using Wolof (one of the native languages of Senegal).

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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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