By Riley Gentry, Staff Writer
International Education Week, which takes place from Nov. 18 through 22, helps the nearly 200 exchange students at UTC showcase the countries they come from and teach other students about different cultures around the world.
This nationally recognized week was designed to help spread awareness about international education and exchange programs throughout colleges and high schools.
The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education joined to promote programs that help prepare American students for global experiences and to attract international students to participate in exchange programs.
Laura Livermore, director of study abroad programs at UTC, said this week is about raising awareness for international education.
“It’s basically about the importance of international education and exchange programs,” said Livermore. “It is different at different schools and not every school participates in it, but it’s up to those who do participate to take the idea and run with it how it will best suits their campus.”
During the week, many events were held that offer different points of interest for all students.
Most of the events put on during this week are hosted by UTC’s international students, Livermore said.
Events included a week-long scavenger hunt with free t-shirts given to the winners, a diversity chalkboard wall, study abroad sessions, international food nights at the campus Crossroads, multiple global spotlights on different countries, a cultural craft fair, presentations from exchange students about their countries, trivia night, field games and more.
At the cultural craft event, many students from Germany, Pakistan, Guatemala, Zimbabwe and Japan exhibited crafts from their countries and helped other students make some of their own.
Another event called “Things Only Locals Know” featured presentations from international students about their different countries.
One student, Maria Golubeva from Moscow, Russia said, “Russians love foreigners, sometimes even more than locals! I sincerely invite you to come to Moscow.”
Abdul Alenezi, a senior from Saudi Arabia, said this week is important because of the diversity students can get out of it.
“Every international student likes to get involved and learn about different cultures,” Alenzi said. “It’s important to learn something new and everyone has a different perspective and different culture it’s so good to know about those things.”
Sean O’Neal, a junior history major, said he thinks everyone on campus should be at least exposed to other cultures and learn a little bit more about them because it “helps them grow as a person overall.”
In one of the first events put on this week where students performed dances from different cultures, O’Neal participated with some of the Japanese exchange students to do a traditional dance.
“I would suggest for everyone to come to some of these events even if you’re not a current student, everyone is welcome,” O’Neal said.
Patricia Lin-Steadman, senior coordinator for International Student and Scholar Services in the Center for Global Education, said she wants to see domestic students study abroad, and seeing international students helps them feel more comfortable with that idea.
“Not every student gets to study abroad and we have international students on our campus,” said Lin-Steadman, “so we kind of want to open up that opportunity for those students to meet people from other cultures and learn about their culture just being here at UTC.”