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International Education Week Showcases Diversity of Global Cultures on Campus

internationaledweekSonoma State University is bringing the global experience to students on campus. International Education Week, Nov. 14-17, showcases a celebration of different cultures from around the world.

“Showcasing diversity is important because our world is flatter every day and California’s borders do not lead to the end of the earth,” says Robert Eyler, Dean of the School of Extended and International Education. “Diversity in this context, it’s really about recognizing that we are not alone on this planet and that having people from different races, creeds, and national origins on campus is extremely important as to how we learn about ourselves and our world.”

SSU’s participation in the week is part of a national effort to prepare American students for a global environment, says Becky Petrow, international student coordinator for international education. “With the rhetoric of the election and its outcome, there has been a growing concern about international law, immigration, international education and exchange,” she says. “The international community at SSU deserves our acknowledgement and appreciation for the global perspective that they bring to this campus and we need to be sure that we are active more than ever to highlight these global cultures.”

International Education Week starts off the weeklong schedule of events with a special opening ceremony Nov. 14 at noon in Seawolf Plaza with remarks from Interim Provost Jeri Echeverria.
Following the talk, Hamel Family Chair of Wine Business Education Damien Wilson holds a special lecture on cultural adaptation in Schultz 3001 at 1 p.m. Wilson has worked in 16 countries around the world and his talk explores the obligations of being an international guest and how to embrace cultural diversity through international exchange.

Along with fun workshops highlighting cheese from around the world and a Taiko drumming performance, International Education Week also ventures into more serious territory with Eyler’s talk, “Five Things You Need to Know About the International Economy for 2017.” This talk explores the effects of Brexit and the recent U.S. election on international education and work opportunities in the U.K.

“I hope that students recognize the importance of a global perspective and how much there is to explore around our world,” says Eyler. “This is especially true in terms of the labor market opportunities when one becomes more global and sees that you can live abroad and have amazing experiences.”

International Education Week also offers informational sessions to students wanting to start their own unique global journey. Whether a student wants to study abroad, join the Peace Corpsor work, intern, or volunteer abroad with WIVA, students will be able to hear all these options for themselves.

“With studying abroad, students gain the experience of living elsewhere while going to school and not necessarily having to work abroad,” says Eyler. “It is a completely different way to spend time and can exponentially expand one’s perspective on the world. The acquisition of a new language can also transform your life; so can living in another place where English is the primary language but is simply outside the United States.”

International Education Week is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as the U.S. Department of Education. The annual week of celebration is observed across the United States and around the world each November, typically the week before Thanksgiving.

For a full schedule of events, see Sonoma State’s Center for International Education.