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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Inaternational Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 3335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI international students to see Iowa culture first-hand at State Fair

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- UI International Programs staff will escort approximately 50 newly-arrived University of Iowa international students representing a variety of countries to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines Sunday, Aug. 17.

Representing countries as diverse as China and Taiwan to Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia and Africa, these students are visiting the fair as part of orientation activities coordinated by the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) and UI International Programs.

The students will arrive at approximately 10:30 a.m. and stay until 5 p.m. Between 15 to 20 different countries will be represented in the group.

During their visit, students can view the traditional displays of livestock and produce and even see a 2,000-pound pig and a tomato as big as their heads.

This is the ninth year for the trip, which has become a tradition of sorts, according to Liz Pearce of International Programs. Pearce, originally from England, created the trip to give international students an opportunity to experience Iowa's rich agricultural heritage and learn more about Iowa's culture.

"It shows them a lot about Iowa and Iowans," says Pearce. "I think even during the trip there, they realize just how agricultural Iowa is, and then when you see the produce, you see how it really is a rich agricultural state."

Most students from other countries rarely have an opportunity to learn about the agricultural aspects of life in America, Pearce says.

"From the media, they often don't see the agriculture of this country," Pearce says. " The media usually focuses on the urban areas and so many of the students are really astonished by the vastness of the Midwest and the plains, and so the trip there is great for them just to see all the rolling farmland."

They also get to experience an Iowan tradition that shares many aspects of the local culture.

"They can see what Iowans like to do in their recreation time - the things they like to eat, things like funnel cake, which a lot have never seen before, and things like pig races, bubble gum blowing contest - things they don't normally see maybe in their countries."

UI International Programs consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the Associate Provost and Dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

8/12/97

(Note to Editors and News Directors: If you would like to arrange to meet with newly arrived international students attending the State Fair, call Jorg Vianden, UI International Programs activity coordinator, at (319) 353-2355, or Lois Gray at (319) 335-2026.)