Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

International Education Week informs and entertains

Lily Iserson

A&E Editor

Once again, the Office of International Student Affairs and student efforts launched a celebration of Wooster’s global community known as International Education Week this past Saturday. After a series of successful student shows, bazaars and panels, the week will conclude with the South Asian Committee’s annual dinner in Kittredge, followed by a dance party in the Underground.

The College of Wooster has conducted an independent version of International Education Week since 1970, although International Education Week was first championed on the national level by the U.S. State and Education Departments in 2000. The national event pays homage to the unique customs and cultures of all countries in order to promote healthy relationships between international communities and U.S. citizens.

Though our campus may not boast an international climate on par with larger universities, The College of Wooster’s international community has blossomed in recent years, with 69 international students forming part of the 2017 class alone. The total number of international students reaches 157 with over 40 countries represented on campus, and this number only stands to increase.

Sadly, these numbers are too often obscured by admissions jargon, tokenization and an understandable, albeit limiting, preference for what reminds us of home. International Education Week was conceived in order to combat these habits, yet it also acknowledges student heritage in a way that allows the entire campus community to take part.

“There is a huge misconception that this week is designed for international students only,” says Karma Gurung ’15, who served on the Planning Committee for International Education Week this year. “Every International Education Week is planned months ahead in order to celebrate the benefits of international education and to recognize the global exchange environment between the United States and other countries. It provides a platform for domestic and international students to share and learn different cultures through their own experiences and knowledge.”

Programs began Nov. 1 with the annual Culture Show, which showcased a series of inventive skits, songs and dances exploring the theme of world travel. Sunny Mitra ’16, this year’s chair of the South Asian committee, was emphatic about the show’s success: “It started off on a higher note than last year for sure. Yorgun Marcel [dean of International Student Affairs] told me, ‘this was definitely the best Culture Show I’ve ever seen.’” Even President Grant Cornwell took part — he was asked to hold a vase as an important prop in a scene.

The rest of the week was supplemented with study abroad panels, film showings and a traditional tea ceremony organized by SEA-U.S. When this issue of the Voice is published, the International Bazaar Nov. 6 will have also taken place, which plans to command Lowry throughout the afternoon. The event combines delicious food samples, cultural activities and booths that featured some of the College’s charity organizations. Representatives of the AKAA project discussed their humanitarian work in the Eastern region of Ghana, while the International Student Association and the African Student Union put together a clothing drive in support of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, a French organization that, among other relief efforts, strives to assist victims of Ebola in West Africa.

If you’ve missed these events, students are encouraged to attend the dance night that will take place in the Underground tonight at 11 p.m., which will feature a medley of world music and other activities. And, so long as tickets are still available, you ought to stop by the South Asian Committee’s dinner in Kittredge at 6 p.m.

“In previous years we would charge students to counteract the cost. This year we managed to get some funding from ISA and the planning committee, and we made tickets free for the first 80 students. We also were able to reduce faculty and student tickets to $5 — it definitely got more students in the door,” said Mitra. “Even faculty members were asking about the event weeks in advance.”

Unnati Singhania ’17, secretary of the South Asian committee, added: “People wear traditional clothes or semi-formal clothes, but we make sure that everyone feels at home. And of course we have the all-time favorite courses: butter chicken and mango lassi.”

If Singhania’s thoughts are any indication, connecting the entire campus over savory chicken and creamy, yogurt-based drinks ends the week’s efforts perfectly — what better image of global unity could possibly exist?

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