Last week, Community College Initiative (CCI) Program international exchange participants joined events at their host community colleges to celebrate International Education Week (IEW) 2018. 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 12 – 16.
Throughout the week, CCI participants in 8 states across the United States engaged in international festivals, fairs, and showcases. In Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, and 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.
Unique IEW 2018 activities on CCI host campuses included an International Coffee and Tea Time event at Kirkwood Community College. The casual event included coffee and tea demonstrations in-between live performances. Two CCI participants from India prepared chai tea and a participant from Egypt prepared Turkish coffee for guests. Between sipping international coffees and teas, several CCI participants from Brazil and Indonesia performed live music and dances.
At Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, four CCI participants from Indonesia hosted an Indonesian Puppet Show and delved into Indonesian folklore by storytelling through the art of traditional puppetry. Also at Scottsdale, CCI participants shared the history and dance steps to cultural dances of South Africa, Dominican Republic, and Colombia. Dances included the gumboot dance, a traditional Zulu dance, and Latin American dances.
Just outside Washington D.C. at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), CCI participants hosted a global peacebuilding workshop. After a panel of young professionals discussed their approaches and thoughts on peacebuilding, guest speaker Dr. David J. Smith led an interactive activity on peacebuilding. Through Dr. Smith’s workshops, students worked through how they can use the skills they’re developing within their fields of study at NOVA to help build peace in their home communities.
The support and interest in International Education Week by local communities was felt throughout the week across the CCI host campuses. During Northampton Community College’s International Education Week celebrations, CCI participants and other international students were invited to an open house hosted by Northampton’s President Dr. Erickson. Also at Northampton, CCI participants who volunteered to apply henna designs ended up being so popular that their activity ran for four hours—two hours over its originally scheduled time.
CCI international participants also partnered with college clubs and organizations to help facilitate IEW 2018 events. At Valencia College in Florida, CCI participants collaborated with Valencia’s Continuing Education Department to conduct 15-minute language lessons to teach key words and phrases in CCI participants’ native languages. CCI participants at Valencia also worked with the Valencia Intercultural Student Association (V.I.S.A) and the Student Development Office to host the largest IEW event on Valencia’s campus—“We Are One.” The We Are One event included a cultural fashion show and performances, food sampling, and interactive games. Meanwhile in Boston, Massachusetts, CCI participants at Bunker Hill Community College co-sponsored “The World as Global Village” event with the college’s Hospitality Club.
At the conclusion of International Education Week, CCI participant Juan from the Dominican Republic summed up the experience by saying, “International Education Week 2018 came to an end, but throughout the week we had the opportunity to travel through the different countries where CCI participants come from and learn about their countries and culture. IEW 2018 is over but the celebration and promotion of a Global Education must always continue and expand.”
To view more photos of CCI participants IEW 2018 activities, visit the CCI Program’s International Education Week 2018 photo album on Facebook.