Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2009 | Reviews

What Are You Into?

By IAM Staff
Students are never the same after they meet Janis Perkins.

As director of the UI Office for Study Abroad, Perkins leads her staff in preparing more than 1,000 Hawkeyes a year for international adventures that change the way they see the world. This summer alone, her office sent about 400 students to countries such as Italy, China, and Australia to experience life in another culture.

A seasoned traveler, Perkins has been to 35 countries and speaks fluent French and proficient German. She enjoys reading books on the plane about her destination and learning about day-to-day life in other countries by visiting markets and bakeries.

Perkins believes that Hawkeyes who study abroad return as better students and have an edge over other job-seekers. She says, "Exposed to a new culture and new ideas, they return transformed and stronger individuals, more independent than when they left."

FAVORITE BOOK:

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby.

CURRENTLY READING:

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, 74MFA, 77PhD. "[Boyle] takes on serious social issues with enough dark humor that it entertains you as much as it makes you feel and become concerned."

FAVORITE MAGAZINE:

Bon Appétit.

FAVORITE RADIO STATION:

NPR, particularly the programs "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" and "This American Life."

FAVORITE ARTISTS:

Billy Bragg, the Cowboy Junkies, Natalie Merchant, and the Decemberists.

FAVORITE SONGS:

"Motherland" by Natalie Merchant and "Those Final Feet" by the Cowboy Junkies.

FAVORITE ALBUM:

Miles From Home by the Cowboy Junkies. "They play beautiful folk rock music juxtaposed with lyrics that shock you."

LAST CONCERT I SAW:

Lez Zeppelin, an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band at the Englert Theatre.

FAVORITE TV SHOW:

BBC America's reality series Last Restaurant Standing. "It looks at the operation of a restaurant more holistically than U.S. shows like Top Chef."

FAVORITE MOVIE:

Cold Comfort Farm about an orphaned young woman who goes to live in the countryside with her strange, long-lost relatives.