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Let Your Mind Wander
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A newsletter for study abroad returnees, highlighting stories, information, and events to inspire you to continue building on your international experience.
Did you know IAP has resources for students returning from study abroad? Check it out online. Join us for events like Global Cafe, International Trivia Night, and volunteering at the Study Abroad Fair (fall) or orientation events (fall/spring). Be in the know on international related opportunities and follow what young alumni have done after their study abroad in our monthly newsletter - Badgers Beyond Abroad.
ALUMNI FEATURE  
Nicole - Istanbul rooftopsNICOLE DAVIS | TURKEY

UW alum Nicole Davis' study abroad and internship experience in Istanbul, Turkey gave her perspective on the next steps she took for her academic and professional future. She shares with us a "slice of her life."

Photos: Nicole looking out over the rooftops of Istanbul. Below, Nicole pipetting at the VA in California, processing samples to learn more about the native bacteria on our teeth

What have you been doing since completing your study abroad program?
After my junior year abroad in Istanbul, I returned to UW-Madison to complete my senior year as a biology and botany major. I continued learning Turkish that year, and realized I hadn’t had enough of Turkey. Since I knew the U.S. Department of State ran a student internship program, I applied for the opportunity to use my science background and Turkish language skills in a new context: diplomacy! Awarded the internship, I flew back to Turkey for my ‘super senior’ fall semester in 2013, this time working in the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. There I spent three months working with diplomats and NGOs to identify Turkey’s position on current issues in science, environment, technology, and health.
 
Having had a taste of science and policy abroad, I returned to academic science at home in late 2013 and graduated in spring of 2014. Next, I turned westward to California to begin a technician position in a microbiology research lab at Stanford University. I spent the next two years pipetting away in the lab, learning all I could about our inner bacterial ecosystems – the human microbiome – and preparing to apply for graduate school.
 
As of now (fall 2016), I am a 1st-year PhD student in the Microbiology & Immunology Department at Stanford. I study a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, a literal stomach bug that leads a dual lifestyle: it’s the leading cause of gastric cancer worldwide, but may also reduce our risk of developing asthma and allergies. My goal for graduate school is to better understand similar human-associated microbes- ones that have an impact on global human health.

A reflection on your study abroad experience: How did your time overseas impact your life, your goals, and your career?
More than anything, studying abroad gave me the perspective to understand that my life, my goals, and my interests are a very small slice of everything that’s going on in the world. When I’m stressed, it’s comforting to think that someone somewhere is drinking tea out of little glass cups while playing backgammon, like my Turkish friends and I did in Istanbul when we had down time. It’s also humbling to think that while I worry about my experiments in lab, there are people elsewhere, like the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, fighting for the right to have a homeland.
 
Studying abroad also taught me that it’s important to know your values - how far away from your family and friends are you willing to live? Are you willing to devote every waking moment to your career or do you want to have a family/travel/explore the world, and when? After studying abroad, I decided that I want to remain in the United States to be near family, but that I also want to address issues – like global health – that help people at home and abroad.

Share with us a favorite memory from your study abroad days.
My favorite study abroad memory was my first Muslim call to prayer. Twelve hours after I arrived in Istanbul, I woke up before dawn bewildered because dozens of men’s voices were floating over the entire city, each singing their own chorus of the strangest, most ethereal prayer I’d ever heard. Later that morning I learned that it was the Muslim call to prayer. Though I continued to hear the call to prayer five times a day every day while in Istanbul, I still think it’s one of the most extraordinary things that human vocal cords have ever accomplished. I will always remember looking out over the rooftops of Istanbul until the last echoes of the prayers faded, being so glad that I had the opportunity to experience something so unearthly beautiful.

pipetting StanfordWhat advice do you have for students returning from abroad?
Don’t underestimate reverse culture shock – it was the hardest part of my study abroad experience, but also the most empowering! I’d spent an entire year away from my friends, building memories in Turkey that they couldn’t share. The hardest part of coming home was rebuilding the relationships and connections that I’d put (mostly) on hold for so long. However, it was also great because it made me think about which parts of my life in Madison were most important – which of my friends I most wanted to see, how important it was to stay in touch with my family, and which parts of my academic career I loved enough to turn into a professional career. All in all, I felt that leaving the U.S. allowed me to come back to it with fresh eyes, and it gave me a fresh take on how I wanted to live my life as a U.S. citizen.

Interview conducted via email October 2016.
IAP EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Trivia Night

February 9
6:00-8:00pm
State Street Brats, 2nd Floor
 
Brush up on your global knowledge and tap into some of those facts you learned in the classroom and abroad!

Join your friends and form a team for an international theme trivia night. Meet up with fellow returnees, exchange and international students, swap stories and vie for trivia prizes. 

This event is free and open to all students! Start the trivia party via our Facebook Event!
Global Cafe FlyerGlobal Cafe
Drop in conversation gathering over drinks and snacks. Make new friends from around the world. Catch up with other study abroad returnees. Practice a language. Learn about different cultures. Build connections around the world. 

Each Global Cafe will have a theme and specialty drink announced prior to the event.

February 9, 4:30 - 6:00PM
February 23, 4:30 - 6:00PM
March 9, 4:30 - 6:00PM
March 30, 4:30 - 6:00PM
April 13, 4:30 - 6:00PM
April 27, 4:30 - 6:00PM

** Global Cafe is located in MSC Lounge, Red Gym, 2nd Floor.
ARTICLES
Q&A: Scholarship Winner Says You Should Build a Global Network 
I would encourage American students at Wisconsin to take part in the international student community on campus...I think one of the really amazing things about being a college student in this generation is the ability you have to make international friendships and build a global network.
VISUAL Q & A
Anna Miller
Palmerston North, New Zealand
We asked Anna, who studied abroad at Massey University in Palmerston North, to answer a series of questions about her time abroad and only reply in photos. Click on the image to view her responses.
OPPORTUNITIES

JUISUW Journal of Undergraduate International Studies
The Journal of Undergraduate International Studies (JUIS) at UW-Madison is accepting submissions for its Spring 2017 issue.

The Journal seeks to publish the best undergraduate work (essays or photos) across the country related to international themes and topics including, but not limited to: international conflict and conflict resolution, human rights, environmental issues, culture, history, comparative politics and economics, development and trade, global security and international health. To view submission guidelines and previous issues, visit: www.juis.global.wisc.edu.

Submissions must be received by Sunday, February 12 at 11:59 pm CST. 

Publish Your Travel Photography or Writing
http://souvenirsmadison.com/ 
UW-Madison's student-run travel magazine: Souvenirs, is currently accepting any travel-related writing and photography submissions to their Spring 2017 print issue. Submissions will be accepted through February 20th via this link.

2017 Undergraduate Symposium
The annual Undergraduate Symposium is our campus-wide showcase for undergraduate creativity, achievement, research, service-learning and community-based research across all disciplines through oral presentations, poster sessions, exhibitions, and performances. The Symposium will be on April 13, 2017, in Union South.

The application opens on December 12, 2016. In preparation, now is a great time for you to review the Symposium website and familiarize yourself with the program to begin planning your presentation's format. 

Take advantage of this opportunity to present your work to the campus community and public-at-large…even the work you did abroad.

Copyright © 2017 International Academic Programs (IAP), All rights reserved.


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