University of Iowa

Welcome to International Programs

Welcome to International Programs at The University of Iowa! International Programs connects UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public to the world. Our major and certificates we offer in collaboration with CLAS and other UI colleges, as well as our scholarships and programming, offer remarkable opportunities on campus and abroad, generate intellectual excitement, heighten cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. International Programs catalyzes global knowledge and skills; it provides opportunities for self-knowledge and to better understand others; it positions students as global citizens; and it provides students with the knowledge base and cultural understanding that they need in order to succeed in the 21st-century economy. We open doors for independent spirits, critical thinkers, and global citizens.

International Programs has an ambitious vision for global education at The University of Iowa. Our goal is for every UI student to reach global competence through life-changing international experiences. Global competence is a key to every citizen's future. It ranges from a basic understanding of global conditions to foreign language proficiency to an ability to function confidently in multiple cultural environments and value systems. Globalization affects every walk of life, from the arts to the health professions, and from business to government. The American Council on Education has recently affirmed that "instilling global competence should be recognized as part of the core education of all American citizens in the 21st century, along with reading, writing, math, science, and history."

Almost a quarter of all students who leave their home countries to seek higher education abroad end up in the U.S. The University of Iowa currently hosts almost 3,000 international students from over 100 countries. If these students stay after graduation, they contribute to the U.S. economy and widen the knowledge Americans have of other cultures and peoples. If they return home, they serve as ambassadors for the U.S. Higher education today must teach people how to think critically and independently, but also must provide opportunities for students to understand the languages and cultures of people from all over the world. By sending nearly 1300 students abroad every year, we prepare the next generation to be good citizens of the world; by bringing students to Iowa, we strengthen our country and shape the way the U.S. is perceived throughout the world.

Our students, faculty, staff and community members are leaders in an array of international activities. You might be reading this year's selection in the One Community, One Book program focused on international human rights; maybe you are earning credit abroad in China, or completing an internship in Ghana; maybe you plan to graduate with a B.A. in International Studies; or you might have heard a world-renowned scholar address issues relating to the global financial crisis or to health care challenges in South Africa. The University of Iowa prepares its students in many different ways to be tomorrow's peacemakers, cultural bridge-builders, and fully active participants in ever more multicultural communities and an ever more inter-reliant world.

International Programs enhances international education at The University of Iowa directly, through the efforts of its staff and over 100 affiliated faculty members, and indirectly, through the leadership it provides to the University's colleges and other units. Each year, UI students choose from over 600 courses that address international and global topics in all of the 11 colleges of the University. Exchanges and other educational partnerships are underway with over 80 universities and research institutes worldwide. Each year, over 3,000 schoolchildren and dozens of secondary-school teachers throughout Iowa benefit from educational programs that introduce them to non-U.S. cultures and important global issues.

At International Programs, we take pride in generating vast opportunities for international learning as well as in providing leadership that boosts internationally focused activities across the University. I invite you to explore our website to learn more about the many centers, academic degree programs, offices and other international resources at The University of Iowa. Whether you might wish to attend a lecture or workshop led by a world-famous author, learn a foreign language, study abroad, become friends with someone from another culture, or get an internationally focused degree, come visit us. Let International Programs be your connection to the global community.

-- Downing Thomas
Associate Provost & Dean International Programs