November 12-17 is International Education Week (IEW) in the US. IEW is a chance “to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.” Schools around the U.S. hold special events to highlight the value of international exchanges and education.
At the University of Wisconsin-Superior, the week is full of activities celebrating international education, cultural exchanges, and all kinds of activities to encourage people to explore ways to expand their international understanding.
When I talk about international education, people often think of students from other countries coming to the U.S. However, American students going to study in other countries is just as important. At UWS, many students choose the Wisconsin in Scotland program. There will be a Gathering of the Clans during IEW for all the students and faculty who have participated in the program, and all those who are interested in participating soon, will meet, share memories, and celebrate their international experience. The Study Away Coordinator also works with UWS faculty members to plan trips for specific purposes, such as the month-long summer trip to Bosnia to study issues of war and peace. Study away is open to international students as well if they wish to explore another culture beyond the U.S.
Students on a day trip as part of the Wisconsin in Scotland program.
International students from 45 different countries are attending UWS this year. As part of IEW, they will hold a panel discussion of why they came to UWS, and the challenges they continue to face.
Since one of the goals of International Education Week is to explore a variety of perspectives on the world, UWS includes American students with different racial and ethnic heritages in its IEW activities. The Black Student Union will host a panel discussing African versus African-American identity.
I think the most fun event of the week is the International Cooking Demonstration sponsored by the international student group, the World Student Association. Students choose recipes from home, search for or order special spices and ingredients, and spend Friday afternoon and Saturday morning preparing and cooking recipes from their home countries. The kitchen is chaos all morning, with people chopping and measuring and stirring, baking and frying and steaming all at the same time. Community members are invited to come to taste all the different recipes and hear a little about them from the students. Last year, approximately 200 people attended the cooking demo. It’s a great conclusion to the week.
Everyone who is brave enough to study in another country understands both the value and the challenge of experiencing a different culture with a different perspective. International Education Week is a reminder to use to share that idea with other people who may be interested, but who may not have been able to travel or study away.
Written by Elizabeth Maeshima, ESLI at UWS.