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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Intercultural Learning, Study Abroad Celebrated during International Education Week

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Students participated in Italian Games Night during International Education Week activities. (Photo by Willow Saxon 24)

Campus community members played Italian Tombola Bingo, ate Spanish Polvoróns, learned how to pronounce their names in Chinese, sampled South Korean snacks, danced to Afrobeats, and learned about study abroad opportunities, all during Wesleyan’s annual celebration of International Education Week (IEW). ) .

said Hannah Barton, assistant director of the study abroad division at the Fries Center for Global Studies. “The 2021 event focused specifically on ways out of the pandemic with a greater sense of connectedness, self-awareness and compassion.”

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IEW, held from November 13-19, is celebrated with a series of more than 20 global events. The PINOY Club – a group of Filipinos, Filipino Americans and lovers of Filipino culture – sampled Filipino dishes. The African Student Association hosted an Afrobeat dance class that showcased playful and lively movements from all over Africa; The Study Abroad Office held an interactive session on the benefits of studying in another country; The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship presented a virtual session on ways to take action on social and environmental issues through grassroots organizing, activism, fundraising, and more.

The participants also had the Italian Games Night Gala, the Chinese Pronunciation Workshop, the screening of the Greek box office movie “A Touch of Spice” and the Hindi-language Hindi comedy “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”.

International Education Week concluded with Wes Stories – a multilingual event that showcases talented students on campus through songs, spoken stories, dances, speeches and other creative performances, and an international gaming festival, hosted by Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs).

In addition to the activities, the IEW provided the Fries Center for Global Studies an opportunity to celebrate the return to study abroad programs, which were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Although some countries still impose travel restrictions, 30 students are currently studying abroad this fall in countries such as Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

According to Emily Gorlewski, Director of Study Abroad, 152 students are already applying to study abroad programs for the spring semester.

“(After the pandemic), there was a lot of initial interest,” she said. “We usually have about 100 in the spring. However, there was a lot more interest than usual.”

In a “normal” school year, Wesleyan sends about 325 students abroad. Students travel to attend programs on six continents, in all different countries.

“Traveling abroad changes your perspective in many different ways, and this is the only time in your life that you will be able to share this kind of experience,” Gorlewski said. “There are plenty of opportunities on campus to learn about the world and other cultures, but studying abroad is a unique opportunity.”

Studying abroad also allows students to interact and learn from the world and its cultures. “A purposeful experience across cultures increases our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world we live in,” Barton added.

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IEW is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education. It aims to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and share experiences. It was the first IEW Wesleyan Institution in 2017, one year after the establishment of the Fries Center for Global Studies (FCGS).

“The IEW Wesleyan Committee meets every fall to discuss our goals for this year and remind ourselves of the ‘why,’” Barton said.

Below are pictures of the various activities of International Education Week 2021:

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) and the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) hosted a Meet and Greet open house.

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) and the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) hosted a Meet and Greet open house.

The African Student Association and the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an afrobeats dance class at Malcolm X's home.

The African Student Association and the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an afrobeats dance class at Malcolm X’s home.

Several study abroad graduates led a discussion entitled "From Ghana to Middletown: Maximizing your study abroad experience abroad and back home."

Four Study Abroad alumni led a discussion entitled “From Ghana to Middletown: Maximizing Your Study Abroad Experience Abroad and Back Home”.

During "Opportunities abroad" Discussing, Wesleyan faculty learned about opportunities to travel and work in countries around the world.  The session, which included information on faculty and Fulbrights exchanges, was hosted by the Fries Center for Global Studies, the Office of Career and Faculty Development, and the Office of Companies, Institutions and Government Grants.

During a discussion of Opportunities Abroad, Wesleyan faculty learned about opportunities to travel and work in countries around the world. The session, which included information on the exchange of faculty and Fulbrights, was hosted by the Fries Center for Global Studies, the Office of Career and Faculty Development, and the Office of Companies, Institutions and Government Grants.

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