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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 9, 2004

Photo: University of Iowa students learn a traditional Brazilian dance from local children during the Iowa Summer Program in Brazil in summer 2004. Click here for a high-resolution version of the image.

Sept. 21 Study Abroad Fair Features New Opportunities, Numbers Stay Strong

University of Iowa undergraduate and graduate students will have opportunities to learn about programs around the world in a variety of disciplines at the annual UI Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The fair, organized by the UI Office for Study Abroad, is free and open to the public.

More than 70 study abroad programs sponsored by the University of Iowa will be featured. Students who have returned from programs abroad, program directors and study abroad advisers will be available to answer questions. There will also be representatives from approximately 30 external institutions offering study abroad programs.

Fair attendees will have a chance to win a Contiki Tour, $50 travel vouchers from STA Travel, $500 scholarships or a week of Spanish lessons in Guatemala.

The number of students studying abroad remains strong, even in the face of world tensions, the war in Iraq and fears of terrorist activities, said Janis Perkins, director of the UI Office for Study Abroad.

"It says a lot about the caliber of UI students and is a credit to UI faculty and staff that these world events have piqued their desire to learn more about other countries," Perkins says.

The most recent study abroad statistics available show that 917 UI students studied, conducted research or worked abroad in 2002-2003, up seven percent from the previous academic year.

"We expect to have more than 1,000 students going abroad annually within the next few years," said Autumn Tallman, fair organizer and study abroad adviser.

Studies have shown that students who study abroad are often more desirable candidates to businesses and companies when hiring in an increasingly competitive global job market, Perkins says. In addition to making students more marketable to potential employers after graduation, studying abroad often allows student to gain new perspectives on their own culture.

The fair is also an opportunity to promote new study abroad programs offered by the Office for Study Abroad, such as the Iowa Summer Program in Bahia, Brazil. This summer, the first seven participants spent six weeks in Brazil studying Portuguese and exploring the values, ideologies and symbolic content of the state of Bahia, which has strong African influences.

Going to Brazil enabled UI student Sheyla Shreck to learn more about her own cultural roots. Shreck, a junior majoring in elementary education and Portuguese, returned to her hometown of Sao Paolo, where she was born and lived for 14 years before being adopted by an American family.

"Although the visions I had of the paradise in Brazil never changed, I did see for the first time the signs of social issues in Brazil, like in many other places," said Schreck.

Tallman says the Brazil program has great potential for growth. "There aren't many Portuguese programs among the Big 10 schools. The program is an important opportunity to study Portuguese," she said.

Information will also be available on the UI's international studies undergraduate degree and the relatively new interdisciplinary/international studies graduate degree.

Since the cost of studying abroad is a factor for many students, there will be a table at the fair devoted to information on scholarships and financial aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid and International Programs Office of Research and Development work closely with the Office for Study Abroad, and there are numerous undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships available for UI students.

For more information about study abroad opportunities or to make an appointment with a study abroad adviser, contact the Office for Study Abroad, 28 International Center, 319-335-0353. Or visit its web site at

More information on specific programs or countries is available in the Study Abroad Resource Room, 28 International Center, which is staffed by peer advisers on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The UI Office for Study Abroad is part of the UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree and academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.

Editor's Note: If you would like to interview recent study abroad returnees, please contact Lois Gray, International Programs External Relations, at 319-335-2026.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Autumn Tallman, 319-335-0375,; Writer: Po Li Loo