International Education Week, an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, will begin next week and run from Nov. 12-16. Throughout the week, there will be a variety of events showcasing cultures and countries from around the world including: tea tasting, study abroad expo, Hello! My name is…, and Tastes and Sounds of Nations.
The week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. The events are co-sponsored by the International Programs and Services Office, International Student Association, and Study Abroad Office. All of the week’s events and activities are free to all and open to the public.
Vickie Mense, International Programs Office accounting specialist and International Student Association (ISA) advisor, said the week is, “part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.”
An international tea tasting Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Oval will kick off the week’s events. At the tasting, students will have the opportunity to try samples of tea from countries all over the world, including Brazil, China, India, and more.
The following day, Wednesday, Nov. 14, a study abroad expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gorilla Crossroads in the Overman Student Center. The expo requires no pre-registration and is open to all students to drop-in and learn about studying abroad. Students can get general information about exchanging schools as well as specific information about schools they can go to and the culture of those countries.
Tables will be set up from the exchange schools with students representing them. There will be five affiliate companies present, who all have options for studying at universities in almost every country in the world, as well as universities through the Pitt State exchange program. Students can also learn about faculty-led trips.
Kaylin Moser, senior in finance, minors in international business and is the programs’ promotion assistant for study abroad. She has held several information sessions about studying abroad throughout the semester.
“The expo is kind of a touch point, it kind of expands on the information session but you have more people you can talk to,” Moser said, “Financial Aid is usually there, it’s basically one big info session but you can go to tables you are specifically interested in.”
“Hello! My name is..” will be the third event held during the week, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Oval Thursday, Nov. 15. This event will give students the opportunity to create a personalized bookmark with their name written in different languages on it. International students will be in the Oval to help write the student’s names in their native language on the bookmarks.
Volunteers make this festive week possible, as they assist in many of the activities.
“… Most of them are going to be ran by the International Student Association, on a volunteer basis, there are officers and we have interns, and of course people are just going to help,” Mense said. “Of course, our office does their part. Most is just run by the students.”
The last event is Tastes and Sounds of Nations, which will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Grubbs Hall lower level lobby Sunday, Nov. 18. Long Xiao, senior in political science, is ISA president. Xiao said the Tastes and Sounds is one of the largest multicultural events of the year.
Throughout the night, students will have the opportunity to taste a variety of international food and dishes prepared by international students as well as watch traditional performances from all over the world.
“It’s an opportunity for them to see what do the international people eat and how do they perform, and kinds of stuff like that,” Xiao said.
ISA and the International Programs Office hope students will use these activities as an opportunity to learn from and experience other cultures beyond their own.
“Students should expect a lot of fun,” Xiao said. “When they attend these events they will be expecting basically a very enjoyable cultural experience that is full of fun, full of joy, and full of surprises. It’s probably a good experience for students to open their minds for them to see how the outside world is looking like.”
Another goal of the week is to emphpasize inclusivity.
“It’s important for people to understand that even though there are differences, we can all join, and we can all have fun and learn from each other,” Mense said.
If students are interested in more information and for updates in case of location changes due to weather, follow the PSU International Programs and Services Facebook page. Additionally, students can follow the PSU Study Abroad Facebook page for more information.