International Education Week (IEW) has always been a big part of the fall semester on campus, but this year it looked a little different. While the week-long celebration had a new virtual look, there were still many ways students and faculty could interact and learn more about the different cultures that make up the campus community. The week kicked off last Saturday with an event from the Center of Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), Collage Your Culture. In this event, students used Canva to create a digital collage representing their culture that doubled as a print-out and could be hung up in students’ dorm rooms.
On Sunday, the cultural learning continued with an event hosted by Dr. Ziying You and Nanzan University called “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia: Traditions in Transitions.” During this virtual symposium, viewers had the opportunity to learn about cultural case studies that were conducted in Asia. There was also discussion of folklore, ethnomusicology and anthropology from these places. The main focus of this event was the cultural heritage that is not apparent to most people.
Next up was an event about cultural intelligence, which took place on Monday afternoon with Candace Chenoweth, the Director of the Global Engagement Office. This was an interactive workshop that encouraged participants to look at and build their own cultural intelligence by studying the things around them, including emojis. One of the participants, Kayla Bertholf ’22, said that she attended this event because she felt the need to learn how to communicate and interact with other cultures. Bertholf said, “Something that really surprised me was the relevance of different cultures in something as small as emojis. As they mentioned in the seminar, we use emojis daily without really thinking about the different cultures that may have designed them or how they might mean different things to different cultures.” Kayla continued her cultural education by attending the Culture Crossing Speed Meet on Thursday, so she could meet other students that live all around the world.
Two other ways that members of the College could participate in IEW were via a culture map created by the International Student Association (ISA) to show where students come from and a playlist created by Dr. Amyaz Moledina. The playlist, TransGlobal Collective, showcases music from across the world. If you are interested, a second playlist will be released later this week. Other events and virtual discussions throughout the week include topics such as immigration, the movie Mulan and interacting with other students to learn about their cultures.
I have not attended IEW before since this is my first year on campus, but I have heard great things about it. I know that the College tries to help inform students about global cultures, and I think that this is a great way to do so because it makes the education interactive and enjoyable. Even though the events had a new format this year, there were still many events that students could participate in from wherever they were studying this semester. It was a good way to bring the campus community together and to have fun while learning about different cultures. I look forward to seeing how this week grows and changes in future years. I was excited to see the Culture Show, which is usually in conjunction with IEW because it is a fantastic way for students to show how their culture differs from others. However, the show was postponed and will hopefully be put on in the spring semester. The virtual learning format still allows College of Wooster students and staff to appreciate other cultures.