Every November, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln comes together to celebrate International Education Week and the benefits of a global education. With more than 100 events offered to highlight the wealth of global opportunities available to Huskers, Nebraska’s 2021 International Education Week marked the university’s largest-ever celebration.
International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and Department of Education that highlights the benefits of international education and is celebrated around the world. The official dates for the celebration ran Nov. 15 to 19, but Nebraska expanded to a month-long celebration from Nov. 1 to 24 in order to further elevate the importance of a global education and provide additional flexibility for programming.
“Over the last few years, we’ve continued to grow our International Education Week celebrations, but it’s an incredible achievement that this year included more than 100 events across campus,” said Josh Davis, associate vice chancellor for global affairs.
The events, coordinated by the Office of Global Strategies and hosted by more than 25 campus units, included a range of special presentations on cultural exchange and education abroad, culinary opportunities, language tables and multicultural registered student organization meetings. Partners hosted events on Zoom and in-person according to university COVID-19 policies.
Building connections with the global community
This year’s signature IEW event, Global Café and Connections, was hosted Nov. 16 in partnership with the College of Business and Global Affairs. The event invited the university community to sample food from local businesses and experience cultural presentations from various students groups.
Some students, like sophomore international business major Tyanna Monson, took the opportunity to educate herself about international perspectives beyond what is taught in the classroom.
“These events help raise awareness towards the many opportunities and communities that await us outside of our university and the United States,” Monson said.
The university community also had the chance to sample different traditional hot beverages from six countries at Global Hot Drinks, hosted by the International Student and Scholar Office, Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services and Kawasaki Reading Room. Other food and culture events included Cooking, Culture and CASNR: Indian Cuisine, hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Global Learning Hub and the College of Business Oxford High Tea study abroad information session.
For Christa Rahl, graduate student in educational administration and assistant at the Kawasaki Reading Room, IEW allowed her to learn about different areas of Japanese studies and connect with communities across campus.
“I loved seeing the different offices interact together to make a diverse array of events available to students,” Rahl said.
Encouraging leadership and professional development
New events this year also encouraged students to demonstrate their leadership and prepare for their professional careers. On Nov. 10, the International Student Advisory Board hosted a job search session with a panel of international student alumni and resume reviews by staff from University Career Services and the Office of Graduate Studies.
“The International Student Career Pathway event was very helpful for international students like me,” said Sandhya Karki, junior nutritional science and dietetics major. “I got to hear several perspectives and helpful tips that ranged from personal levels to professional levels for finding a job, a graduate school option and Optical Practical Training.”
Despite recently arriving to Nebraska, many students in the Nebraska University Malaysian Student Association (NUMSA) eagerly joined IEW celebrations by hosting a cultural booth at the Nebraska Union and supporting Global Café and Connections.
“IEW has widened our approach to people, and we had the chance to get involved with other organizations and events. Even though we still have a lot to learn and improve, it was such a great experience,” said Wan Farhana Natasya, NUMSA vice president and junior advertising and public relations major.
Exploring beyond comfort zones
IEW events also encouraged students to get comfortable moving beyond their comfort zones. From Nov. 15 to 19, the Center for Academic Success and Transition hosted a booth at the Nebraska Union for students to play “DownSide Up,” a trivia game that challenges students to guess countries based on hints while looking upside-down at a map. The game was created as a tool to get to see the world in a new way, similar to how students often experience in college, said Donny Bui, CAST academic success coach.
The expanded IEW also increased student exposure to language learning and opportunities related to international career goals. In addition to regularly-scheduled language tables, several members of the Business International Student Association taught a session on common greetings in Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese to international and domestic students.
“Students should be involved in these events to learn and know about others from different cultural backgrounds than theirs,” said Almoatasim Al Hasani, a BISA member from Oman and junior finance major. “In this way, students will be well-connected with others, and they will expand their social circles by gaining new friendships with other students from around the world.”
As the university wraps up the celebrations, campus partners are excited to continue exploring new opportunities to engage students and participating in IEW next year.
“In the Forward Together global strategy, we committed to expanding global learning experiences and building awareness of global engagement at the university level. The strong support for IEW from across campus demonstrates the variety of opportunities available at Nebraska, and I’m extremely grateful for all of the partners who joined us this year,” Davis said.
To see more highlights of the International Education Week 2021, visit the Global Nebraska website.