International Education week (IEW) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education in a bid to celebrate intentional cultural exchange between students in American Colleges and Universities as well as encourage and promote study abroad efforts. This initiative was first implemented fourteen years ago and is currently celebrated in over 100 countries. With a long standing history of celebrating culture and a strong vision for diversity, Maryville College will join other colleges in hosting International Education Week 2014 from Monday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 22.
During this week, the campus and its surrounding community will be exposed to numerous facets of culture that are often difficult to navigate without insight and professional help. One facet that will be explored by Metz Culinary in partnership with some students and staff is food.
A food series entitled Taste of Culture will present the campus with a variety of international dishes at lunch time throughout the celebration. According to James Beard, a seasoned American Chef, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience”, and, as such, we believe this partnership would help us find that common ground amidst our differences in taste and style. Da Dong, a student and member of the planning committee agrees that such an event will help students find “an emotional resonance with one another and explore different parts of the world.”
In order to view the world through numerous lenses, a week long photo exhibition will be on display in Pearsons and students are encouraged to participate by either sending in entries of people, places, culture and architecture or by simply voting for their favorite display.
Social media will play a huge role during this week as the Center for International Education (CIE) has decided to get the campus involved using the hashtag #IEWMC14. This hash tag will be used to give daily information on the happenings of the week but, more importantly, will be used to promote cultural integration on the campus via The Selfie Contest. This contest will happen before IEW, and MC community members are encouraged to take photos of themselves in an international element using people and props and post on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag and a caption that explains the cultural significance of the photo. All participants have to like the International Education Week at MC Facebook page and the winning photo will receive a grand prize and be part of the photo exhibition.
Other events to look out for include a panel on Love, Marriage and Sex from an international perspective on Nov. 18 from 3:30 to 4:30 in Bartlett 101 and a lunch and learn session on Islam in the PDR by student development on the same day. A Peace Corps representative will also be on campus on Nov. 19 in the library from 4 to 5 p.m. discussing how to redefine one’s international experience. The last day will involve a cultural presentation on Northern Ireland at 3:30 p.m. in Bartlett and an International dance party organized by the Global Citizenship Organization (GCO) at 8 p.m. in Isaac’s Café.
Hadis Karatashi, a member of the planning committee from Kosovo, believes that “this week will be an amazing opportunity to meet different cultures.” He further states that it is important to experience the core values of cultures worldwide and prepare one’s self for future travel. In his opinion, “this is the best way of finding interesting places that should be added to your list of 100 countries to visit before you die.”
Nami Falhan from Cyprus said the reason IEW is important to him is that “in order to grow into a well-grounded world citizen, it is important to appreciate different cultures and engage with them.”