University of Iowa senior Brittney Bellows sees cultural diversity all over campus, no matter what the city’s demographics say.
The 21-year-old political science major spends a great part of her time trying to broaden her horizons and learn about different ethnic cultures. This could be a hard task considering Iowa City’s population is over 80 percent Caucasian. However, she manages to find people to learn from everywhere by simply talking to them.
“Iowa City itself has so many things to offer, there’s music, theatre, events at the IMU and food, so many different kinds of food,” said Bellows. “And there’s always a huge opportunity in just meeting people who aren’t American.”
Bellows makes time to attend as many events put on by the UI’s Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) as possible. She’s spent time exploring different kinds of cuisine, dance and other types of culture on campus, something that many students miss out on at first.
She says her favorite way to experience a different kind of food in particular is to make a friend from another country and invite them over to cook. Getting to know different people is something that Bellows thrives in; she always has someone to say hello to or smile at no matter where she is on campus.
“I came to campus [in 2007] and I loved it, I didn’t even really get homesick,” said Bellows. “There are so many different things to do on campus, honestly I didn’t even go out [to the bars] then because there was too much else to do.”
Her interests have taken her far away from campus as well. Her involvement with the Hawkeye InterVarsity and OISS in combination with her natural curiosity has led her to Egypt as well as Jordan. Her involvement with InterVarsity mainly surrounds creating a positive, multiethnic community at the UI in an effort to “change campus and change the world.”
She was involved in various community outreach programs in Cairo as well as Jordan, spending more time interacting with Jordanians and Egyptians in their daily lives than going to tourist sights. She said she enjoyed immersing herself in another culture and then having the opportunity to converse with others about American culture, while showing respect and openness toward their traditions.
Bellows will graduate in May and then plans to spend a year to three years living in Jordan and continuing to build relationships and bridges.