Last week, CCI international exchange students participated in and hosted a series of events at their host community colleges to celebrate International Education Week (IEW) 2017. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This year, IEW took place from November 13 – 17.
Throughout the week, CCI participants across the United States engaged in several international festivals, fairs, and showcases. At Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts, Houston Community College in Texas, Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, Mesa Community College in Arizona, Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia Community College in Virginia, CCI participants dressed in their country’s traditional clothing, gave performances, and shared informative presentations about national currencies, art, flags, food, languages, dances, and games.
During Northampton Community College’s International Education Celebration, CCI participants performed dances and songs and gave cultural presentations, and attendees also had the unique opportunity to hear from CCI alumnus Ahmed Awadallah from Egypt who was visiting Northampton to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award. During the IEW celebration, Ahmed spoke about his CCI exchange experience at Northampton from 2010-2011 and shared his experience as an international exchange alumni saying, “We all have responsibilities to the international community.”
Other unique IEW 2017 events included a Global Poetry Slam event at College of DuPage in Illinois and an International Coffee and Tea showcase at Kirkwood Community College during which CCI students demonstrated how to make different coffees and teas. At Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, CCI participants Desfa Yusamaliana (Indonesia) and Julian Robles Jimenz (Colombia) shared traditional storytelling of folktales and ghost stories from their countries. Just down the street at Mesa Community College, CCI participants took part in an international fashion show in the college courtyard.
CCI participants also partnered with college clubs and organizations throughout the week to help facilitate IEW 2017 events. At Valencia College in Florida, CCI students assisted with programming events and tabling with V.I.S.A (Valencia Intercultural Student Association) throughout the week. In Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) CCI participants and NOVA’s Student Life put on a global peacebuilding workshop event. Guest speaker and workshop leader, Dr. David J. Smith, focused on defining peace and helped students work through what they could do in their own countries to help build peace.
Aside from educating college classmates and local community members about their countries, CCI participants also learned from their peers and their community. At NOVA, CCI students attended the U.S. Institute of Peace event, “Strengthening Global Connections through International Education” at the USIP headquarters in Washington, D.C. At College of DuPage, many CCI students took part in the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, where they discussed different perspectives on food insecurities across the world and in the United States with other students in the college.
After a week of exchanging cultures with one another, CCI participant Nicole Sainz (Dominican Republic, Bunker Hill Community College, Early Childhood Education, 2017-2018) summed up her IEW experience by saying, “This is what the CCI Program is all about. You come here to the U.S. to do a major, but you leave with general knowledge of countries you had no information about … you learn to respect other people’s customs, you learn about cultures, and most importantly you make a family away from home.”
To see more photos of CCI participants IEW 2017 activities, visit our International Education Week 2017 photo album on Facebook!