International Accents

E.g., Monday, September 26, 2016
E.g., Monday, September 26, 2016

I am riding in the car. The anticipation of the vacation my family is about to embark on is building inside me. We arrive at the airport and the excitement dwindles for I know what comes next. Waiting.

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Noaquia Callahan, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Iowa, is one of 13 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant winners from the UI for 2016-17. Noaquia will undertake research on the development of interracial collaboration between African-American civil rights leader Mary Church Terrell and German women activists from 1888-1922 at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Heidelberg. As part of her community engagement, Noaquia will work with the German-American Fulbright Commission's Diversity Initiative to prepare Turkish, Afro-German, Muslim, and other students for study abroad in the U.S.

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We live in a world where digital data is almost as pervasive and unnoticed as the air we breathe. We have become an integral part of the Internet of Things; our personal smart items that we carry with us are sensing the world around us and sharing it with other smart things in our environment including our TV, refrigerator, thermostat, car, bridges — the list is ever growing. The amount of data that is being gathered and exchanged is staggering and growing fast. A billion tweets every 72 hours is one example. Collectively, the amount of data in our digital universe — approximately 5 trillion gigabytes — is doubling every two years.

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Trains have always intrigued me. Watching them speed by, I’d always wonder where their final destination was. They carry a sense of mystery. Who’s on them? Where are they going? What are they leaving from? Why are they traveling at all? All these questions would race through my mind, as I would watch the trains pass through.

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The African Studies Program and Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies Program will co-sponsor an upcoming forum entitled, “Crossing Borders Symposium: Rethinking Memory and Trauma: New Directions in Cultural and Visual Studies.” This event is free and open to the public, starting at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 22, through 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, in 315 Phillips Hall.

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During the last weekend of April, downtown Iowa City will be inundated with dance. For the tenth year in a row, audiences will be treated to a series of free public dance performances, master classes and installations. InterDance, the nonprofit organization run by dancer Nora Garda, is the force behind Iowa Dance 2016: Dancing Our Visions, and its goal, she says, is “to educate and entertain.” That goal is not one necessarily associated with dance, which is usually confined to theatres and limited audiences who may have a presumed knowledge or existing connection to the form. “Dance for a long time has been considered an underrepresented art,” Garda told Little Village last year.

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Traveling to Pondicherry with the 2016 India Winterm Program was my first trip abroad and the experiences I had over the three weeks I was there were life changing. I enrolled in the course Serving Children with Disabilities, Empowering Local Women, Assisting Older Adults (SEA). My enrollment in this course provided me with the opportunity to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in the area, attend lectures with guest speakers, and visit ancient temples and other cultural sites. I volunteered at SARVAM, an after school program created by the Sri Aurobindo Society that works to advance the educational attainment of children in rural areas.

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Join the Organization for the Active Support of International Students (OASIS) in celebrating their annual cross cultural event, Bridging Fiesta 2016, "Under the Sea." This year's aquatic themed event will be an affair to remember, including live bands, dance performances, food catered by Formosa and OASIS, photo booths, raffle prizes, multicultural activities, and more!

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As I sat down to breakfast this morning, my roommate broke the news to me that only 27 more days remain until our study abroad experience comes to a close.

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The New York Times published a brief piece, entitled "Study Abroad's Seven Deadly Sins," in the Education Life section of the Sunday paper on April 10th.  The article is not inaccurate in the strictest sense; but the larger context is missing.  The author, a professor at the University of North Carolina, stokes the fires of parental alarm by listing seven evils of study abroad: slide courses, suds (beer), sexual fervidity (as if sex were absent from our home campuses), shopping, self-segregation, smartphoning, and selfie-taking.

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WorldCanvass tackles informatics—also known as big data—on its final program of the 2015-2016 season. Guests from the diverse fields of computer science, medicine, sociology, public health, and geographical and sustainability sciences will discuss the proliferation of big data and their attempts to both understand and utilize this massive and, in many ways, untamed digital resource. “Big Data: Big Brother or Big Sister?” is the topic at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, at FilmScene. WorldCanvass is free and open to the public.

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Visiting Assistant Professor Melissa Moreton will discuss her work examining the material culture of late medieval, Renaissance, and early modern Italy (1300-1650), combining methodologies from history, material book studies, art history, and the quantitative sciences.

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Has French Cinema lost its roots and become a nondescript mass of so-called European film traditions? Is transnationalism just a weighted synonym for ‘international coproduction?’ Can popular cinema also be art?

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Misunderstandings and misconceptions of Islam and Muslims are issues students in the University of Iowa Muslim Student Association aim to alleviate during the second-annual Islam Awareness Week.

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An Iowa alumnus settled in London, England, Alex Boyce first started thinking about connecting with fellow alumni living across the pond when he was asked to speak to a class of students as part of the Tippie College of Business’ Winter Study Abroad Program.

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The Study Abroad Office, Peace Corps, the School of International Training (SIT), and the Blank Honors Center will hold two upcoming informational sessions - "Not Your Ordinary International Experience: SIT Study Abroad and the Peace Corps!" These events are free and open to the public, and will take place from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in room 2390 of the University Capitol Centre, and 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in room 350 of the Blank Honors Center.

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The European Studies Group and the French and Italian Forum will co-host an upcoming talk, "Le Soleil Couchant by Théophile Gautier (1830): An Introduction to Reading French Poetry." Featuring guest speaker Geoffrey Hope, a professor of French at the UI, a reading and discussion will take place on the poetry of Théophile Gautier, in honor of the retirement of Professor Wendelin Guentner.

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The European Studies Group will host a lecture on, "Writing the Early Modern Spanish Empire in the Pacific." Featuring guest speaker Ana M. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, the talk will explore the Spanish presence in the Philippines in the 16th and 17th centuries. This event is free and open to the public, and will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in 315 Phillips Hall.

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International programs experts credit the United States’ top quality higher education system, in part, for the rise in global applications. And Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs, said students who come to Iowa from abroad gain valuable exposure to the U.S. educational system, culture and post-graduation opportunities.

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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.

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At 6 p.m. Thursday, the Native American Student Association will host a screening of Rising Voices/Hótȟaŋiŋpi in W401 Pappajohn Business Building. Rising Voices is a documentary on language loss with Native American groups and modern revitalization efforts to give back a part of their fading culture. It focuses on the Lakota people, part of the Sioux tribes that live on the Great Planes.

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On March 31- April 1, 2016, the University of Iowa will host its second annual Fulbright Day to celebrate past UI Fulbright faculty and student awardees and to provide prospective students the opportunity to learn more about the Fulbright process. In the year of its 70th anniversary, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

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We spend so much time rushing.

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How do you get to the point where you can call a place your home? I believe one of the factors is finding your favorite spots around the city. Cork is home to around 120,000 people, but it does not feel like it. It was not hard to be able to carve out a home for myself in this new place. One of the best things about moving to a new place is being able to explore it. It is very easy to walk or bike all over Cork. As I reflect on all the great things about my time abroad, I can’t help but think about the places that I will miss the most.

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I know that I just posted a couple of days ago, but given the recent attack in Brussels, Belgium, I thought it would be worthwhile to compose my thoughts into another blog entry.

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