By Ana Berbel, Distribution Manager
Like previous years, during the first few weeks of November, the International Education Month is celebrated on campus. The international club, SPICES, organizes this event.
It all began with the International Education Week, which is a national event, and the club expanded it to the week before Thanksgiving. The purpose of having a month dedicated to international education is to teach students, staff and faculty about the different cultures and traditions around the world.
Every year, different countries are represented. Last year, West Liberty had 27 countries and although this year they are down to 14, there is still plenty of variety.
The countries that everyone was able to learn about this year are China, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine/Israel, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Romania, Scotland, Tunisia, Nigeria and Australia.
“We started with a Day of the Dead lecture, which we are hoping to make a traditional part of our events. We also have our International Tea Time event the first week. The other 27 events are all talks or presentations predominantly by our international students. I can’t tell you that one is more important than another,” explained Coordinator of International Student Activities and Recruiting, Heather Kalb. “There are a number of talks about study abroad – either past experiences or opportunities in the future. We also have talks about LGBTQ rights in Germany, Roman influence in Tunisia, Ukrainian history, an Introduction to Poland, Australian wildlife, etc. Hopefully everyone could find something of interest.”
Students were encouraged to attend the events and learn about other cultures. Also, learning about other countries may lead to future study abroad trips. West Liberty offers many programs that can make that possible.
The events also talked about many topics that can relate to what is currently happening in the U.S.
“These events give students an opportunity to learn about the rest of the world from people who have experienced them. What are recurring themes in our news – mass shootings and terrorists. So, attend the talks on gun control in Australia – they have had 0 mass shootings since instituting major gun control changes. Even their homicide and suicide rates have declined. How about actually learning about Islam from Muslim students instead of the news channels,” said Kalb.
Knowing about what is going on in the rest of the world is very important, not just because it deepens your knowledge, but because it can open many doors in the future. The International Education Month helps students achieve just that.
For more information about International Education Month, or about SPICES, contact Heather Kalb at [email protected]