Our world is more connected now than ever before. Connecting with people from other cultural backgrounds is becoming more valuable in business, diplomacy, and education. Because of the diverse heritage that Americans share, the United States is particularly passionate about strengthening ties with nations around the globe.
When discussing International Education Week 2012, Hilary Clinton advocated for friendships between people as the first step to building strong, long lasting relationships between nations and cultures. Studying abroad is not only beneficial for the student, but for the nation and the world as a whole.
Clinton remarked, "International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States."
Themes and Events for International Education Week 2013
The 14th annual International Education Week 2013 will be celebrated November 18 - 22 by various universities in over 100 countries. The event is a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State, both of whom keep the event broad enough to cover a multitude of topics. However, some universities take on a specific theme for the week - using the celebration to bring awareness to particular issues that the university community believes are important. Meanwhile, others simply make it a time to celebrate cultural diversity.
Two campuses who are selecting a theme for the week include Montana State University, located in Bozeman, Montana, and the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York.
Montana State University will focus on global leadership this year. As the university’s strategic mission places an emphasis on creating world leaders, they felt that International Education Week 2013 would be a prime time to re-emphasize this goal. With a variety of activities and speakers throughout the week, MSU is sure to be an exciting place - particularly on Friday when Jody Olsen, a previous deputy director for the Peace Corp, gives two lectures on global leadership and local responsibility.
The University of Buffalo in New York will address a more serious issue during this year’s International Education Week - women’s human rights around the world. The campus has decided on the topic of women’s human rights to provide students with a deeper insight into many current conversations in the media surrounding the issue. With a keynote speech by Liesl Gerntholz, executive director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, students will learn more about the magnitude of this issue - along with potential ways of getting involved.
Other campuses across the U.S. will organize individual events:
- Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois is hosting an activism and human trafficking workshop to discuss the effects of colonialism on anti-trafficking efforts.
- University of Michigan will screen a film entitled “The Dialogue.” The film follows American and Chinese students as they travel together through South-west China. True to the theme of international education week, the film highlights the importance of exposure to other cultures as well as honest dialogue between them.
- The College of New Jersey will celebrate with a “A Trip Around the World”. This event gives students the opportunity to learn about other cultures on campus through musical performances, food, and conversation.
- The University of Georgia will organize a photo and video contest. Students are invited to view and vote for photos from around the world taken by their peers. Votes will be counted while students taste coffees from different countries.
To learn more about events going on at a university near you, visit the US Department of Education.
The Value of an International EducationAs International Education Week reveals, universities, governments, and individuals from around the world place a tremendous value on educational diversity. Some of the many benefits of studying abroad include:
- Cross-cultural knowledge
- Unforgettable memories
- International relationships
- Job opportunities
- Personal growth
- New ways of thinking and living
During this year’s International Education Week, enjoy learning about people, places, and cultures from around the world. And then, consider becoming an international student yourself. There is no doubt that the experience will change your life.