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November-December 2020

2020 Family of the Year Supports Study Abroad

The Iowa State University Family of the Year is an honor that is given to a family that shows a strong connection and pride for ISU. We are honored to introduce the 2020 Family of the Year, the Fichter's!  Heidi Fichter (2020), Adam Fichter (2015) and Austin Fichter (2015) all studied abroad during their time at Iowa State! More . . .

From left to right:
Chris Mandt (2018), Heidi Fichter (2020), Adam Fichter (2015), Marissa Fichter (2015), Jourdan Fichter (2015), Austin Fichter (2015), Jean Fichter (1981), Corby Fichter (1980)

First-Generation College Celebration - Taylor Berkshire

TaylorOn November 8, 2020, colleges and universities are encouraged to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on campus as part of First-Generation College Celebration! In 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration. Given the continued success of this event, COE and the Center now partner to make this celebration an annual event.

To celebrate, the CALS Study Abroad Office interviewed Taylor Berkshire ('18 agronomy, environmental science), a first-generation student who participated in study abroad programs to Antarctica, Austria, Costa Rica, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa!

What role did study abroad play when you were applying for college?

  • It didn’t play the biggest role as I don’t recall learning about it when I toured. The wonderful faculty is what drew me in to ISU!

What sparked your interest in study abroad?Taylor Antarctica

  • I had only traveled out of the country once before college and I knew I wanted to do it again, but wasn’t really sure how. One of my classes freshman year mentioned a study abroad course and so I started looking into more and realized what an amazing opportunity it would be to be able to visit another country and have an in-depth introduction to their agricultural systems that I would never get on my own and to also have it all planned out for me. And then once I went on one, I was hooked and loved studying abroad.

Where there any challenges you faced as a first-gen student aspiring to study abroad?

  • I would say the big two were financial and hesitancy from parents.

Taylor GroupHow did you navigate those challenges?

  • Financially, there were scholarships available through the Study Abroad office, as well as my department that helped tremendously and I had a job while in college so I was able to save money from that to help pay for it. The hesitancy from parents was a little more difficult as they had never gone abroad and weren’t familiar with the program and the safety measures in place for students. I had told them that I was going and provided all the information I could to ease their worries such as providing the various emergency phone numbers, flight plans, and itineraries. I think parents are always going to worry, but I would encourage students to not let that hinder their desire to explore the world, especially in such a safe and curated manner as study abroad is.

What impact did studying abroad have on you and your experience at Iowa State?

  • It had an unmeasurable impact. I was able to meet so many new people and friends from different backgrounds that broadened my scope onTaylor Lamb the world. When you come from a small town, you don’t know much else except for what the people around you have known their whole life, but when you travel you are exposed to different experiences and ways of life that can impact your perspective on many topics. It also helped me in my academics as I was able to relate to different agricultural or environmental issues around the world that may or may not be the same to the ones faced in Iowa/US. My study abroad experiences are still some of my fondest memories from ISU.

What impact did studying abroad have on your career prospects?

  • I think it has helped me in more indirect ways as it helped me become a more well-rounded individual with skill sets that I may not have if it weren’t for studying abroad such as navigating new situations, speaking to individuals from different backgrounds, and staying calm when things aren’t going as planned. It has also provided a wonderful ice breaker in many conversations when networking.

What resources would you recommend for a first-gen student wanting to study abroad?

  • I would definitely reach out to the study abroad office as they have the knowledge and resources to get you on your way, but also reach out to your department and consider speaking to other students who have gone to see what their experience has been. There are also a wide variety of programs that range in cost, length of time, how far away from the US, and even language differences or not. I don’t think you could pick a ‘bad’ study abroad because they are all wonderful and unique, even if they aren’t in your field of study.

Virtual Lecture Opportunities for ISU Faculty

Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece, is offering virtual lecture options for Iowa State University faculty as a unique way to include an international perspective into course curriculum and engage students. CALS Global Programs has a long-standing partnership with the American Farm School/Perrotis College.  For several years CALS students have participated in semester and summer study abroad programs, as well as internship and research programs at Perrotis College.

Through the virtual lectures, faculty get to host an online guest lecture with a professor from Perrotis College, who is an expert in their field. Students gain new information from a distinctly different perspective.

Suggested lecture topics can be found here. If you are interested in a different topic, ask about creating a customized lecture for your course. The lectures are conducted synchronously to fit in with your class schedule.

Interested in learning more? Contact Nicole Hurlburt, Communications Specialist & International Visitor Coordinator, in the Global Programs Department.

"Duration of Status" May No Longer Be Available - J Status

Currently, J-status visitors who maintain their legal immigration status may extend their stay in the U.S. through their host institutions rather than through an application filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a proposed rule that, if adopted, will reinstate a fixed period of admission to the U.S., remove the host institution’s ability to extend status, and require our F and J students and scholars to apply to USCIS for extensions of stay. 

If this proposed regulation takes effect, it will allow J-1 scholars to enter the U.S. for a maximum of 4 years or the end date on the DS-2019, whichever is earlier. J-1s from certain countries, or who are conducting work in certain sensitive fields, will be limited to 2 years.  Scholars requiring additional time to complete their program objectives (and their families) will have to pay the required fee, submit an application to USCIS, attend a Biometrics appointment in Des Moines, and wait for USCIS to adjudicate their application for a longer period of stay.  

“Currently there is no set timeline on when the final rule will be published.” ISU International Students and Scholars offers this alert so it will not come as a complete shock when the proposal becomes law. Questions? Contact Nicole Hurlburt, Communications Specialist and International Visitor Coordinator in the Global Programs Department.

CSRL COVID Relief and Rehabilitation in Uganda FundISU Campaign

Join our efforts in helping rural citizens of Uganda who have been intensely affected by devastating events in 2020. In the midst of the global pandemic, rural communities being served by the ISU-Uganda Program (ISU-UP) were hit by a disastrous drought-rain cycle. This resulted in vast flooding along the Nile River complex, displacing entire communities. The impact on food security and poverty was immediate and devastating. Through the “CSRL COVID Relief and Rehabilitation in Uganda” FundISU campaign, your financial contributions will help provide the resilience necessary for individuals and their communities to emerge from this very difficult period. Learn more about how we are meeting the challenges and please consider making a financial donation by visiting Thanks to a generous donor, every dollar donated up to the first $25,000 will be matched! The campaign ends on December 1, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Making Churros with Global Programs Student Travel Consultants!

Student Study Abroad Experience/Scholarship Impact

Samuel Clouse

Jay and Julie Cornelius Jacobi Scholar

My study abroad experience at the University of Exeter in Southwestern England was life changing. It was the first time I had ever left the US, and I made many new friends from all over the world.

The education was exceptional, as the school is highly ranked worldwide. I was able to take upper level biology courses that applied directly to my degree. There was never a dull moment really as something was always on, and the scenery was amazing.

There was always the option to spend a few hundred pounds on a long weekend and you might end up in an iconic location like Venice, Greece, or Paris. I even got my scuba diving certification while I was there.
I made memories that I will never forget and friends that I will cherish for years to come. It was scary at first leaving home but it is the single best decision I have made in my life. - Samuel Clouse, University of Exeter, Fall 2019


Austyn Becker

Louis M. Thompson Study Abroad Scholar

Studying abroad in Tanzania was a life changing experience, as it opened my eyes to a global perspective on animal ecology – my field of study. The ability to see and learn about wildlife, up close in their natural habitats made the idea of global conversation very real for me; it affirmed the “why” for studying and pursuing degree in animal ecology. I also made lifelong memories and friends for which I also am grateful. Thank you for this opportunity.

The scholarship support to study in Tanzania allowed me to pursue a global experience that I previously did not think was possible. I am one of four children in my house, and while my parents are very supportive of our growth, there are only so many resources as they work to give us equitable chances to grow. I had a desire to join a safari since I was a young child and dreamed of doing this. Thank you to the support of this scholarship, I could pursue a dream that ultimately affirmed that the field of study, animal ecology, is the right one for me. The support though the scholarship allowed me to see hippos, lions, giraffes, monkeys and more in their natural habitats. The scholarship enabled me to experience first-hand, what it is like to study big cats in their natural environment. It was awesome, inspiriting, and a dream come true. THANK YOU for this incredible opportunity that I will remember for a lifetime. - Austyn Becker, Tanzania, Semester/Summer in the Serengeti with School for Field Studies, Summer 2019





November, 2020

November 16 - 20, 2020 International Education Week

November 30, 2020 Application Deadline: Cathedrals, Castles, Culture and Cuisine-sustainable, Safe & Nutritious Food in France

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