International Accents

E.g., Sunday, August 28, 2016
E.g., Sunday, August 28, 2016

Not only can an opportunity such as this help students learn more in their relative field(s) of study, but at the same time this experience can help students to understand other cultures and lfiestyles around the world, which in my opinion is something you cannot be taught. Being the first generation in my family to attend a University, and now to have studied outside the U.S., I feel like I have set an example for my family and friends to hopefully follow in the future.

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I am a “toubab.” This is a term used in West Africa to describe a foreigner. However, when directly translated it means white person. It is accurate in the sense that I am an American. However, my appearance does not properly reflect “toubab.”

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At the beginning I was very frustrated, I wish I would have been more prepared to answer questions. It was not easy explaining my impairments in another language. Also, I was not prepared for the doubt I would have to face from other people. I could see the worry in their eyes when I brought my bike home for the first time. The teachers would ask me everyday if the print in the book was too small. Looking back at it now, it was a tough first few weeks. I really had to give it my all in order to make people believe that I was fully capable of doing everything that a sighted person can do.

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Weeks into my first excursion to China, I distinctly remember standing on a nondescript street corner in a major city, looking around at the press of humanity crowding around me and thinking, “I’m still a minority. Only the majority has changed.” A small realization, yes, but it really did change my current world view in a heartbeat. It really was one of those eureka moments where a chaotic situation suddenly crystallized in my mind. My entire identity had shifted, and I’d barely noticed until it hit me like a sledgehammer.

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My name is Guadalupe Trinidad, but everyone calls me Lupe. I don’t know how much one can tell from a name, but mine yells out ethnicity. I come from a place in Texas called Laredo, a border town to Mexico. My family is Mexican and those were the traditions I was raised with. We are a very close-knit family. To be more precise, all my relatives are in Laredo or within a 150 mile radius. So, when I broke the news that I wanted to attend the University of Iowa, well, the reactions weren’t all that enthusiastic.

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With two parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the late '70s, they have been unsure and hesitant about certain aspects of the college experience. When I brought up the idea of spending two weeks in London with a bunch of people I didn't know, they bombarded me with questions. Luckily for me, the entire process has been extremely easy. There are dozens of people within the Study Abroad office who helped out with general questions as well as anything we wanted to know about financial aid. Before I knew it, I was on the plane across the Atlantic Ocean..

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I had expected the Spaniards to act a certain way towards me because of the stereotypes I had about them. Things worked both ways: I found out that my preconceived notions about another culture weren't necessarily accurate while they found out their stereotypes of Americans weren't necessarily true, either. To me, that's the beauty of study abroad–being able to learn so much about another culture that you end up proving yourself wrong.

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I have learned a great deal about myself from these two experiences. Not only am I from Nepal but I am also from America. Being in Japan has made me embrace my Nepalese culture more but I also appreciate being from America. My identity as an Asian American remains and I have learned not to be scared of who I am. I have values and ideas that are rooted in both cultures. I am not going to lie and say that sometimes I didn’t get confused, I did and I still do but these things are bound to happen. I just know that I am proud to be me, no matter what color I am, no matter my sexuality or gender, I am lucky enough to have lived in two places and I am not ashamed of my identity.

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As an African American woman, meeting members of the African Diaspora in Greece was eye-opening. Many of the West African immigrants I met were first-generation transplants or seasonal workers, and as such their position within the larger Greek cultural fabric was a tenuous one. In a society where large-scale immigration is a newer phenomenon than it is in the United States, it was interesting to hear these immigrants' various opinions about life as a person of color in a European country.

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I have heard time and time again that studying abroad will help you grow as a person, but I had no idea how true that statement would be. While abroad I was challenged to adapt my behavior to different cultures. I learned simple language things such as "rubbish" being "garbage" in London to more challenging things as to how to order food in Dutch or how to navigate the Metra in Rome.

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My name is Kolie Eko, and I am a third year Microbiology major and undergraduate research assistant in the Bradley Jones Laboratory at The University of Iowa. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My family is a multicultural family; my father is from Cameroon, Africa, and my mother is from Calcutta, India. My extended family communicates in English, French, and several Asian and African languages. As far back as I can remember, there were signs of poverty, disease, hunger, and poor healthcare facilities in Cameroon where my father is from, in Kenya, where we lived, and in India, where my mother is from. That reality did not personally affect my brother and I. My parents were able to provide a comfortable life for our family. However, I could not understand the huge gap between the very rich and the very poor in India and Africa. I wished I could do something to help the many school age boys and girls who never went to school but lived and sometimes died on the streets in Nairobi.

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I learned a lot about interactions between one person and another, regardless of their background. I had drifted into a stagnant mindset that other people would think of me in a set way, and I was unsure of how to approach them. I let my own biases influence my character. I realized that individuals react and interact with other individuals. Sexual orientation, nationality, or gender don't play a role in that interaction. I was pleasantly surprised to find this out on an international study abroad program.

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Though Roberto Ampuero will return to Iowa City today, he won’t return to his faculty position at the University of Iowa this spring semester. Instead, he’ll begin serving as the Chilean ambassador to Mexico in January.

“In the future, my students will not only enjoy having a professor who is at the same time an internationally published author but one who served as ambassador to such an important country as Mexico,” Ampuero wrote in an email.

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In today’s globalized world, more young people are looking for jobs, internships and volunteering opportunities abroad. Student interest has increased in this area at the University of Iowa over the past few years as well.

As one of the University’s strategic initiatives is to increase study abroad and internationalization, International Programs’ Study Abroad office has added a Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad (WIVA) advisor to assist students who are interested in this sort of experience.

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Chinese students have flocked to American universities in record numbers in recent years, and officials at Iowa’s regent universities say to keep up they have added advisers and counselors, formed committees to monitor the students’ needs and pay special attention to orientation and language programs.

“China has happened to the United States, period,” University of Iowa Director of Admissions Mike Barron said. “They just simply have a lot of well-qualified students that their own universities can’t handle.”

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Some novels deserve multiple readings. Some issues deserve sustained attention. And some relationships make things happen.

“Iowa and ‘Invisible Man’: Making Blackness Visible” will give audiences an opportunity to contemplate Ralph Ellison’s 1952 award-winning novel, “Invisible Man,” from a new perspective. With the help of the University of Iowa, Ellison’s fictional discussion of blackness also will join the ranks of great drama.

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Ida Beam visitor and world percussionist Michael Spiro will present a free public lecture Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, from noon to 1 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre about his extensive travel to Cuba and how those experiences have shaped his ideas about teaching.

Spiro’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned in Cuba: Integrating Traditional Wisdom with Modern Pedagogy,” will explore how his ideas on teaching have evolved and developed as a result of his early visits to Cuba, especially in relation to his work developing cu

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The upcoming third annual University of Iowa European Studies Conference will explore such diverse environmental topics as cinematic landscapes and green politics, modernization and ecological awareness in France, and how environmental concerns are portrayed in popular culture.

The multidisciplinary “Green Politics II” conference will be Dec. 2 and 3, 2011, in Room 315 Phillips Hall on the UI campus. All events are free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

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As you travel far and wide (or not) for Thanksgiving, remember that there is an opportunity for you to travel farther and wider still: with a Stanley Grant, which offers UI grad students up to $2500 for international research.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m., come down to Sanctuary for a special Speakeasy for Stanley, where your colleagues and recent Stanley Grant recipients Kendra Greene, Lucas Mann, Inara Verzemnieks and Mieke Eerkens will offer us exciting tales of (research-based) adventure across the globe.

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A weeklong Ida Beam residency by Latin percussionist Michael Spiro in the University of Iowa School of Music will include a free Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City, and a Latin Jazz Festival for high school jazz bands, including a free concert at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Parish Hall of the Trinity Episcopal Church at 320 E. College St.

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Turkish author and columnist Mustafa Akyol will present a lecture titled “Muslim Liberalism: Is It Ever Possible?” Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, at 5:15 p.m. in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. This event is free and open to the public.

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Next week marks University of Iowa senior Linshan Li’s fourth Thanksgiving celebration. The Friends of International Students board members say more families are needed to help UI international students— such as Li — experience the American holidays.

And that’s where people such as Maria Ortega Kummer come in.

“I really hated to think that there were any students in Iowa City with no place to go on Thanksgiving,” said the Friends of International Students board member and Thanksgiving matching organizer. “Why don’t we at least try to link them for dinner?”

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On WorldCanvass: Iowa and Invisible Man, host Joan Kjaer and her guests will reflect on the life and work of Ralph Ellison and his place among other African-American writers of his era; the staging of Invisible Man, happening first at the UI; the benefits of integrating performance into the classroom as a teaching tool; and the history of African-Americans at the UI and in Iowa.

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The University of Iowa Opera Studies Forum (OSF) will continue its 2011-12 lecture series coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD theater screenings with a talk on Handel’s “Rodelinda” Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, presented by Michael Eckert. All lectures take place at 5:30 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre conference seminar room 2520D and are free and open to the public.

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“‘Down and Out’ but in the ‘Works’: Homeless Soldiers and Homeless Youth in German Literature and Film” is the topic of a Dec. 9, 2011, lecture by Kirsten E. Kumpf of the UI Department of German.

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