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Saint Mary’s celebrates int’l education week

KELLY RICE | Friday, November 15, 2013

Saint Mary’s will host International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the US Department of Education and US Department of State, from Nov. 18 through Nov. 21. The week will consist of various on-campus events celebrating cultural diversity and expressing the importance of international education. 

Terra Cowham, assistant director of international student and scholar services in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), said there are multiple goals for IEW. She said one of the most important goals is to create cultural awareness. 

“As our world is becoming more and more connected, we begin to not see borders as limits,” she said. “Instead, we begin to see ourselves as global citizens.”

The week will begin with three events on Monday, Cowham said. The first event, which will go from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, invites people to visit the Student Center atrium, where they can meet international students and learn about languages from across the world. 

The next event, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre in the Student Center, will be an informational session on “Study of the United States Institute” (SUSI), the five-week US Department of State sponsored program for global student leaders on Women’s Leadership. 

“The SUSI program was an unbelievable experience where I was able to experience different cultures and was able to cultivate friendships from all over the world,” Katie Nickol, who served as a student coordinator for the program last number, said. “I cannot wait to share my experiences with the Saint Mary’s community and I hope other Saint Mary’s women will choose to be a part of this unique opportunity.”

On Monday evening, Cowham also said there will be a panel discussion featuring study abroad returnees. Study abroad experiences can be beneficial to students’ understanding of the world, she said.

 “Experiences with other cultures and countries change us in innumerable way, and one way we experience that is through international education,” she said.

Other events throughout the week will include a lecture titled  “Q & A on Transnational Feminist Movements,” by Joann Vanek, class of 1963 and director of statistics program of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), an “Arts Around the World” event and an international cultural festival, which will showcase different world traditions and cultures.

Dr. Alice Yang, assistant director of global education at CWIL, said the week is especially important to the College because of its strong mission to promote international exchange.  

“We are proud that we send more than half of each class to different countries to learn about the world,” Yang said. “We also believe that international education can happen at home. It is not only about the economic and political benefits that international education and exchange can bring, but also for promoting diversity and mutual understanding among nations, cultures, and people, for eliminating ignorance and hatred, and for promoting world peace. It is an atmosphere, an attitude and a hope.”

For a complete list of events. visit https://cwil.saintmarys.edu/event/international-education-modern-languages-week

Contact Kelly Rice at krice02@saintmarys.edu