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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

International Education Week promotes awareness of global affairs

This week, Saint Mary's students don't have to take a 12-hour flight to gain a better understanding of life in other parts of the world and grow as people while immersing themselves in the traditions of other cultures. A five-minute walk to the student center will take students to International Education Week, an annual event that promotes increased knowledge of global events and cultures.

international education week
Sara Shoemake | The Observer
The Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) designed this year's events, and assistant director for global education Alice Siqin Yang said the week will encourage students both to grow personally and develop leadership skills.

“The international education offered here will enable students to be more successful in a globally competitive society while they make contributions to world peace,” Yang said.  “It provides students with the perspectives they need to meet challenges.”

Monday's “Henna on My Hands” activity from 12-1 p.m. will demonstrate the Arabic tradition of Henna art, a practice typically performed at weddings. Later Monday night, several students will discuss the benefits of studying abroad in countries such as Austria, China, Ecuador, England, Ireland, Italy and Uganda during the “Intercultural Learning Showcase” from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

“Recent returnees will share their experiences and interactions with local people in different cultural contexts,” Yang said. “They will talk about their re-entry adjustment and skills they have learned.”

The purpose of International Education Week is not necessarily to convince people to travel across the world, though the speeches and events may impact students in such a way that they choose to. Rather, the week's main intention is to inform the Saint Mary's community and to maintain a welcoming environment that embraces other cultures.

Tuesday's “Writing Across the World - ELS Program” showcase from 12-1 p.m. involves Japanese, Indian, Korean, Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian students writing different sayings in different languages on keepsake cards.

“This is a good opportunity to know more about different languages throughout the world, including Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi and Chinese,” Yang said.

A panel discussion on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. will examine the consequences of the unprecedented result of the 2014 Indian election, which resulted in a surprising victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its Prime Minister candidate Narendra Modi.

Thursday night's International Cultural Festival from 5-7 p.m. will include music, dancing and performances from international students and will end the week on a positive note, Yang said.

“It showcases a variety of ethnic presentations by international students and cultural clubs,” Yang said. “It is a chance for our international students to share with everyone where they are from.”

CWIL members have gone to great lengths to organize this instructive and fun-filled week, which Yang calls a celebration of cultures.

“It is an opportunity to learn from international students, study abroad experiences, guest speakers on international politics, movies and arts,” Yang said. “It recognizes the contributions that international students and scholars make in internationalizing the campus.”