IU South Bend Students are in Florence!

Studying Abroad in Italy: Preparing for the Unpredictable

We were all very diligent with our packing. Light and comfortable clothing were a must for the warm Italian summers, or so we thought. Unfortunately, all of the students that I traveled with to Florence for a Study Abroad Program with IUSB did not pack warm enough! A drizzly, cool Florence greeted the 22 of us. The perma- cloud and rain covered Tuscany for a good four days. A group trip to Sienna was the event we all took part of, and as we huddled around our fantastic tour guide, freezing and wet, I could not help but think to myself “how could we have prepared for this?”

Florence 2015

The first of three tips I have for being unprepared is, be prepared to be unprepared! A scattered number of students brought hoodies with them, but most were stuck with thin cardigans and long sleeved button up shirts. Luckily, because the cities we have traveled to are tourist attractions, there are many vendors that sell hoodies, umbrellas and ponchos. Buy them! Being miserable and freezing is not worth saving the 20 odd Euro you would save. Secondly, never wear sandals unless you are going out to dinner. My fellow female classmates splished and splashed their way through Sienna in cold puddles of rain and up slippery hills during our tour, I was very thankful to have my Nikes on, albeit soggy. Lastly, if you have Wi-Fi in your apartment, dorm or hotel during your Study Abroad experience, always check the weather before you leave for the day and grab your umbrella if there is even a chance for rain.

Blog post by International Programs intern Jackie Thornton

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Part 2: Japan and Korea

For this post in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Month series, I will discuss Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and the contributions of Japanese Americans to Southern California.h2_JP1847

Japan is an island nation that is part of an archipelago containing 6,852 islands. The four largest islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku comprise 97% of Japan’s land area. In Kanji, the Japanese logograph (sometimes called “characters”) for Japan means “sun-origin”, which is why Japan is commonly referred to as the “Land of the Rising Sun.”Capture

For much of its history, Japan was an isolationist nation, until 1853 when the United States forced the nation to open to Western trade. This caused turmoil in the country until the Emperor Meiji formalized Western practices and banished the samurai, who were considered by some to be traitors and racists. The “opening” of Japan led to widespread immigration of Japanese, first to Hawaii and then to Southern California to work as day laborers and farmhands. The immigrants employed Japanese irrigation techniques allowing parts of California to increase yields, and allowing cultivation of previous unusable land.

During the Second World War the United States government ordered the interment of American citizens of Japanese descent. This act was applied unequally; those who lived in the west coast were interred, but in Hawaii 1,800 of roughly 150,000 Japanese-Americans were interred. There has been no explanation for these inconstancies, but a general thought was that Hawaii was backward and not really “American.” Interesting enough, although several aspects of Japanese culture were banned in the camps, Japanese Americans still managed to keep alive several of their traditions. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided redress of $20,000 for each surviving detainee, which helped bring to light this grave injustice by the US government.

Korea is a peninsula that has two separate sovereign nations: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). North Korea is bordered by China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, while South Korea only borders North Korea.Shipjang_KNTO-6

Because of Korea’s proximity to other nations, it has been controlled off and on since recorded history. China, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United States have all meddled in the internal politics of both North and South Korea.

Taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea and has quickly become one of the most widely practiced international sports. Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport in 2000.WTF_Taekwondo_1

In the next post in my series, I will discuss Southern Asia.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

Because May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, I would like to briefly outline some major points that I feel make East Asian Studies critically important for understanding modern society. This is especially true when you live in the United States as East Asians and other people from the Pacific Rim have contributed to the growth and vitality of the United States. This series will focus on a few regions or nations over the course of several blog posts and highlight their major contributions to the larger world around them, or interesting anecdotes about the area.

EA1                       EA2Asian American and Pacific Islander Month is a celebration of the culture of East Asia and the Pacific islands. It was originally named Asian Pacific American heritage month (APAHM) when it was began in 1978. It was designed to commemorate Asian-American and Pacific Islander contributions to the building of modern American society, specifically the first Japanese immigrants that arrived in the United States in 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was predominantly constructed by Chinese and East Asian immigrants. Now we will talk about the first country: China.

China is one of the oldest countries in the world and has had a great influence on culture and art throughout history. With 1.35 billion people, China is the world’s most populous nation and Chinese is an official language of Singapore and Taiwan. In the United States, as mentioned above, predominantly Chinese immigrants built the western half of America’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869, while many Irish immigrants built the eastern half. A lesser-known fact is that Chinese immigrants also built the levies in California’s Sacramento Valley.EA4There are also numerous Chinese contributions today. Classical music contributions, as well as the more stereotypical martial arts, food, and tea are common contributions from modern China. Tai Chi has been shown to have numerous health benefits including stress reduction. Tai Chi is often described as meditation in motion and promotes serenity by using gently flowing movements and is ideal for both old and young. And of course, China is a premier economic power in both production of consumer goods and financial support for countries with emerging markets throughout the world.EA3

In the next post, I will discuss Japan and Korea as well as the contributions of Japanese immigrants in American society.

Seeking interns for international programs

IU South Bend’s international programs staff are looking for interns to promote international education.

International Programs  Interns can specialize in the below:
-organizing and conducting class presentations
-old media – reading newspapers and journals for interesting articles to link to on our blog
-new media – creating videos or enhancing our website
-social media – enhancing our presence on our blog Facebook, Twitter
-international education week and other events organization
-outreach to the community
-outreach to student clubs or international students

Ideal interns will be mature, thoughtful, reliable, and passionate about global education at IU South Bend. They will be self-starters with creative ideas about how best to promote IU South Bend international programs.

Students can complete this internship as a course for one to three units, be paid $10/hour as work-study students, or contribute as volunteers. Internships for credit will require academic components. Interested students should submit a cover letter describing relevant interests and the name of one academic reference. Send this information to International programs director Lisa Zwicker at zwicker@iusb.edu.

For more about international programs at IU South Bend see our website: https://www.iusb.edu/intl-programs/

Contact Dr. Lisa Fetheringill Zwicker (zwicker@iusb.edu) for more information.

Asian Heritage Month Events at IU South Bend!

 Come join us for Asian Heritage Month at IU South Bend!


Hmong Embroidery: Threading a Cultural Narrative

A Lecture by Professor Andrea Rusnock

Date: April 16th

Time: 5:30-6:30pm

Location: Schurz Library 5th floor Atrium

Learn about Hmong culture as Professor Rusnock (Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies/Art History) unravels the history and artistry of Hmong embroidery stitch by stitch.

Doing Business with/in Asian Cultures: A Forum

Date: April 17th

Time: 4:30-5:30pm

Location: AI220B

Join us for an invigorating forum with Milind Agtey (President of Easy Access), Professor Haiyan Yin (Assistant Professor of International Business), and Professor Gihoon Hong (Assistant Professor of Economics) to discuss how to effectively bridge cultural gaps while working with Asian businesses.

The 16th Annual Asian Heritage Festival

Date: April 17th

Time: 5:30-8:30pm

Location: The Grille

Enjoy a night of festivities and see student clubs and local groups share their engagement with Asian culture. Includes a sampling of Asian cuisine, dancing, crafts, a silent auction, and much more! 1

ALSO: visit our display in the library lobby for the month of April!

The Journey of Superman Around the World!

Growing up, my family moved a lot: we moved from country to country for various reasons such as economic and political instability. As a young child, I remember telling my grandmother that I just really hated moving. When she asked me why, I told her that I disliked moving to a new place because it meant finding new friends, attending new schools, and sometimes learning an entirely new language.  My grandmother always reminded me that I was lucky because they are many “blessings” one gets from traveling. She always encouraged me to seek the best out of each new travelling experience. At the time, I couldn’t see what she was talking about, all I could think was that leaving my home to go to a completely strange and different place was a terrifying idea. Over the years, I have lived in ten different countries around the world, everywhere from Africa to the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America.

When I was young, I thought my culture and language was “the right one”. I did not have an outside perspective on different cultures, but that quickly changed when I encountered situations with different traditions. I remember in the Sudan, I often bumped heads with a classmate in middle school, who now remains a close friend, we often argued about many different topics, such as which childhood superhero was better, he liked Batman and Superman was “the hero” to me because he was awesome and is not even from earth, (yes, we read about American super-heroes there). I identified with Superman; he was from the planet Krypton and I was from a different country, which I felt was close enough. He was a superhuman and I wished that I could eventually become one too.

Other times my friend and I talked about which country had the best food or sports. One time I said Central African Republic, my home country, is the best because it has pineapples and fresh guava, but in Sudan there is nothing like that because it is mostly hot, humid, and dusty.  Central Africa great basketball teams, but in Sudan they don’t even play basketball. My classmate said that in Sudan they have Shawrima, Kebab, and Shaia (common food among northern African countries and the Middle East), as well as the gigantic soccer stadiums we didn’t have in the Central African Republic. I enjoyed soccer and loved to eat most of the food that he mentioned, but I never admitted it since denying it allowed me to compare and contrast the different cultures. It enabled me to see things from a rather unusual prospective. The differences and common things I shared forged friendships between groups of people with different backgrounds and religious beliefs.

I learned that “diversity” is beneficial when people from different cultures try to communicate and learn about each other. It helped me look at my own culture differently, in a less-biased manner. I may not have gained superhuman abilities like Superman, but I learned to adapt and function within differing societies, which allowed me to have super-traveler skills. I have grown to appreciate the great values traveling added to my life (apart from the lack of superhuman abilities).  Finally I understand what my grandmother meant.