Intercultural exploration is an experience that allows students to explore the world more broadly. While at Iowa, students can study or intern abroad, go on an alternative spring break, or participate in some of the diverse cultural opportunities right here on campus. Study abroad is an opportunity for students to take classes in a foreign country. Global internships are sometimes – but not always – paired with study abroad and they allow students to intern at an organization outside the U.S.  

Iowa also has Hawkeye Service Breaks that offer students a service immersion experience. These service breaks allow students to travel and serve the communities to which they travel. On campus, there are four cultural centers that can help provide intra- and cross-cultural education and involvement for UI students. Additionally, there are various opportunities for intercultural exchange on campus, such as through TIPPIE buddies or the Conversation Center.

Why is intercultural exploration important?

Intercultural exploration can help broaden your understanding of different cultures, expand your grasp of foreign languages, and teach you how to communicate and cooperate with people from different backgrounds. Studying or interning abroad can also give you first-hand experience of international issues and help open doors to future careers, or help you stand out during an interview process. Hawkeye Service Breaks give you the same opportunity to expand your worldview while also allowing you to serve the community to which you travel.

Where can I find these kinds of opportunities?

Study Abroad has lots of information on how students can start the process for study abroad. You can meet with a study abroad advisor to learn what kind of intercultural experience is for you and attend a Study Abroad Fair during the fall and spring semesters.  

You can also participate in intercultural exploration right here on campus.  Either find your home away from home or learn more about cultures by visiting the cultural centers' sites and their events, or by participating in one of the many programs offered by International Students and Scholars Services.  In addition to formal offices and programs, there are also many language and multicultural student organizations on campus. 

How do you prepare?

Ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of the experience.  Then explore the links on this page and create some goals regarding your intercultural exploration. Then contact the office, program, or center you want to engage with. 

Who can help?

Study Abroad has a variety of online and in-office resources to help you consider all the options available to you. It may also be helpful for you to meet with your academic advisor to help figure out how best to fit an intercultural experience into your time at Iowa. If you are a Tippie student, the Tippie website also has information about what global experiences are available to you and how they can shape your time at Iowa. 

If you are looking for intercultural experiences on campus, browse Campus Labs to see what kind of student organizations might interest you. There is a filter menu on the left-hand side of the site that has a ‘multicultural’ option, so you can consider opportunities that might relate more directly to intercultural exploration. You can also reach out to an engagement advisor, who can help you determine what opportunities are available for you.

students standing ourside holding flags

Study Abroad

Study abroad can be a great opportunity to learn more about other cultures and countries through immersion. If you think you’re interested, learn more at the study abroad website or sign up for a Discover Study Abroad session. 

Cultural Center tours

Cultural Centers

Cultural centers/areas are great spaces to help you explore your intersecting identities or become an ally and increase your sense of belonging on campus. The five cultural centers/areas provide intra-and cross-cultural education, leadership and organizational development opportunities, and social justice education, all with a “Home away from Home” atmosphere.

large group of student standing outside

Alternative Spring Break

An alternative spring break is an opportunity to go on a service trip for your spring break. These trips give students an opportunity learn more about a community different from their own while giving back.