travel stories

Rebecca Whitaker, UI College of Engineering, represents the UI and FIRST Tech Challenge in Bucharest

Monday, May 7, 2018
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a middle and high school based program in which teams of students design, build, and program robots. Under the direction of Rebecca Whitaker, the University of Iowa College of Engineering has been the Affiliate Partner organization for FIRST Tech Challenge since 2009. Through this partnership, the Iowa program has become known across the world as a leader with FIRST Tech Challenge. Due to the successes of FIRST Tech Challenge in Iowa through hosting large tournaments, Whitaker was invited to attend the FTC Championship in Bucharest, Romania. Her travel was funded, in part, by International Programs and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization. Whitaker's reflections from her March 2018 trip to Bucharest are below.

Get to the airport early, they say. Listen, I did not.

Monday, April 18, 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.

Wherever the Tracks May Take Us

Thursday, April 14, 2016
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.

Way up I feel blessed

Monday, March 21, 2016
If you would’ve asked me six months ago if I was going to spend a weekend scaling one of the highest mountains in Scotland, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. If you would ask me to do it today, I would jump at the opportunity to go again.

India Winterim: 10 years of changing perspectives

Friday, March 11, 2016
For most students at the University of Iowa, winter break is a time to unwind, visit with family and indulge in a well-deserved Netflix binge while curled up with a cup of hot cocoa. But for others like Victor Diaz, it was an opportunity to make a difference – to embark on a journey to Pondicherry, India for a three-week study abroad course, “Serving Children with Disabilities, Empowering Local Women, Assisting Older Adults.” As part of the course, he observed the physical therapy and special education initiatives many non-profit organizations have implemented in order for these otherwise unwelcome individuals to develop academically or vocationally so that they can integrate into society more able-bodied and prepared. Through these interactions and observations, he learned more about the importance of communication - especially cross-culturally and cross linguistically.

Chronicles of a Black Male Traveller

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
I have now lived in Edinburgh for two months, and I recently had a week off of class and had the opportunity to travel around Europe. Now that I have seen a little bit more of the world, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my identity as an American, specifically a black male American, abroad.

What's the craic?

Monday, February 29, 2016
Before jetting off to Ireland, I, equal parts nervous and excited, read loads of articles, books, and travel guides to learn everything I could about the place I would be living for a year. Besides learning about all the places I wanted to visit while in Cork, I was also very interested in knowing more about the accent.

Shine through

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
I got on a plane to LAX with an overweight suitcase as opposed to a dream in my cardigan.

Working 9 to 5 Just to Stay Alive

Thursday, February 11, 2016
I decided to title this post after a lyric from one of my favourite Beyoncé songs because I feel like it most effectively captures the type of work ethic that I have adapted since arriving in Edinburgh (which was more than a month ago can you believe it!). Scottish culture has a very different concept of time, but now that I have adjusted to it, I have found myself being much more productive.

Becoming a city boy (getting around Edinburgh)

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Hello everyone! First off, I would like to thank everyone who is reading my blog, and hope you find my posts somewhat entertaining and interesting as I document my times here in Scotland. For my first entry, I’m going to talk about getting around the city of Edinburgh, which has been quite different than my time in Iowa City.

Sumo, Kendo, and Shinto

Monday, December 7, 2015
How was your week off for Thanksgiving? I hope you all had a good chance to visit with friends and family and also eat your fill of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and of course, pie. Being here in Japan, I’ve obviously been unable to celebrate in the traditional way. However, throughout the month of November I’ve been keeping myself busy in a few other ways.

The Way to a Man's Heart

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Let me tell you all something. I’ve been here in Japan for a little over two months now. During this time I have seen some amazing things, made some great friends, and had some incredible experiences. But do you know what has really gotten me excited during my time in this wondrous land? If you haven’t been able to guess by the title, it’s the food…the absolutely wonderful food.