By Brian Harris, Staff Writer
On a campus this big, coming together is something that’s hard to make happen.
It seems that life today is more based on what divides us than what brings us together. And that is exactly why the International Education Week is so important.
Bringing together both the International Student and Scholar Center (ISSC) and the International Programs Office (IPO), International Education Week 2017, which ran from November 13 to November 17, focuses on uniting the campus’s multicultural student body. They accomplished this through a series of events throughout the week, focused on highlighting and spotlighting the cultures exhibited throughout the campus.
To find out more, I spoke to Christina Bruen, the Executive Director for International Education about the event and its storied history. “I do not know when the first IEW [International Education Week] celebration was held but I have been involved in some manner or another for the last 17 years,” she said of the tradition of the week. Having an event for over 17 years clearly shows its importance, but why has the event endured for so long? To Bruen, the answer lies in the unity it creates: “I believe that knowledge of other peoples and other cultures creates understanding and better global relations.”
She goes on to say: “I have come to know many individuals from cultures different from my own. This has enhanced my life and those of others, who take advantage of these opportunities to befriend an international student, travel, study, learn a language and/or live in another country. IEW reminds us all about these opportunities, celebrates these opportunities and how they enrich our lives and our communities.”
On to the actual events of the week, it went something like this. Tuesday, November 14 held a seminar on making studying abroad affordable. Many students would love to study outside America, but find it too expensive. The seminar was designed to get people over that hurdle, and encourage outreach into other countries besides this one. Wednesday, November 15 was absolutely packed full of events. The day started with an international tea and coffee tasting, again opening the doorway just a little bit more from just America to the rest of the world.
They then moved on to a hot chocolate and apple cider tasting. From there, Department of Portuguese and the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture put on a showing of The Storytellers, with a showing of Crossing Border later on. Finally, Friday, November 17, brought with it the mandatory session for all study abroad students, and served as the finale information session of the week.
As you can see, it was a pretty jam-packed week, and it seems to me to have been another success, but to Bruen the event isn’t restricted to the annual week. “I believe we are all part of the international community. The ISSC and the IPO will continue to support the individuals who wish to come to the US for academic reasons, or those who wish to have a new academic experience outside of the country.
This is an annual event and I invite the campus community to think ahead about the ways we can enrich this celebration in November 2018.”