International Ambassadors: Calli Tilson

The University of Iowa is proud to welcome students from all over the world. Our International Ambassadors are students that are excited to make the college search process a little more personal to future Hawkeyes around the globe.

Here, you’ll hear from International Ambassador Calli Tilson, a first year student majoring in Creative Writing with Linguistics and Korean minors. She shares what her daily life looks like as a Hawkeye.

Life at Iowa

My name is Calli, and I’m a first-year here at the University of Iowa. My life here is jam-packed with tons of fun things that keep me busy in day to day life. Let’s go!

The first class I have for the day is my Korean language class at 8:30 AM. I start my day with the su

n, waking up and grabbing a quick bite to eat before heading out. I live in Mayflower Hall, one of the furthest resi

dence halls from campus (however, with my own bathroom and kitchen area, it’s well worth it). Since I live a little farther away, I take the bus to get to where I need to go. The Cambus system makes transportation around campus a million times easier and quicker for both students and the public! The buses run on a consistent schedule, and if you ever wonder how long until a bus arrives at your stop, there’s always Bongo, an app that gives you real-time updates of where buses are and estimated arrival times.

After Korean, I have Civilizations of Korea at 12:30. This is a lecture-style course, one I am taking for dual credit to satisfy both a general education requirement and a requirement for my minor, which is Korean Studies. Sometimes lectures can seem a little long, but I have a professor who is always active and interesting to listen to, as well as a few friends who keep me company! Having the ability to create my own schedule is great – since there are so many courses to choose from, I look forward to taking even general education classes! Last semester I fulfilled my Historical Perspectives GenEd by taking a course all about Russian fairytales and folklore. It was so much fun, I never wanted to miss a class. Crazy, I know!

After my Civilizations class, I normally stop by a dining hall to grab a quick snack before heading to my next class. The Catlett dining hall just opened this year, and it’s one of my favorite places to go! Not only does it look incredibly sleek and modern, the environment is always lively and welcoming. Among other options, Catlett often has a wide variety of multicultural foods on their menu.

Next, I have The Art and Craft of Personal Writing. I’m enrolled in this course for my major, English/Creative Writing. This course emphasizes critical reading skills, as well as giving students opportunities to apply what they learn to their own written pieces, which are discussed and given feedback during workshops. Workshops might seem scary to some writers – after all, writing can be extremely vulnerable – but what I’ve found is that not only do my professors ensure everyone feels comfortable and protected, but my classmates do too. In all the writing classes I have taken this year, I can confidently say that they really feel like complete safe spaces.

Lastly, I have Language and Formal Reasoning at 7:30 PM. This course is technically a linguistics class, but it also fulfills a Mathematics general education requirement, which is what I am taking it for. Even though 7 PM seems a little late to still be going to class, my professor is so passionate about what he teaches that I am always wide awake! He always finds ways to keep things entertaining. This class is one of my more difficult ones, especially since it is lecture-style as well. Fortunately, it’s paired with a discussion class that happens later in the week. My discussion takes place in a smaller classroom-esque setting, with around 20 or so people, plus a teaching assistant for that class. The teaching assistant, or TA, does a great job at connecting one-on-one with students, and is always there if anyone needs help with questions on the homework or concepts covered in lecture. My TA also has open office hours, which is a great resource! If I am ever confused over lecture or am unsure about anything, I know help is only a quick stop away!

After this class I can finally head back to my dorm! I typically make dinner with my roommate before doing homework and hanging out with friends. It’s not the same in every residence hall community, but people on my floor are extremely friendly and close like family. If you walk down the halls, you can often hear music and laughter, and see many open doors! Open doors are following a policy that says if you leave your dorm room door open, people are welcome to stop in and hang out, or just say hi! In the beginning of the year, this is how everyone got to know each other, and is a great way to meet new people on your floor. I have made some of my best friends this way, as well as discovered other students that can help me do homework and study alongside me. On Thursdays, our residence hall always has a fun activity going on, whether it’s international food night, or watching a movie while decorating cookies! Living in a dorm has given me so many new friends, and time flies by when I’m with them!

This is one of the busiest days on my schedule – not every day is this jam-packed. When I have free time, I like to go out to eat with my friends at one of the multicultural restaurants in Iowa City – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek – you name it, Iowa City has it! Other days my friends and I like to watch movies together in the dorm or simply just hang out and talk. On Sundays I have a hip-hop dance class, which is another fantastic way to meet new people. There are literally hundreds of organizations and clubs on campus. From LGBTQ+ organizations to A Capella teams, there’s something for everyone!

Life at the University of Iowa is amazing! Go Hawks!

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