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Global Connections for global awareness

December 5, 2014

UWRF accounting student Shingi Muchapondwa (left) talks about life in Zimbabwe compared to Wisconsin to Megumi Kawase, Kayla Pettis and Kelly Deutschman (middle to right) and other students and staff.
UWRF accounting student Shingi Muchapondwa (left) talks about life in Zimbabwe compared to Wisconsin to Megumi Kawase, Kayla Pettis and Kelly Deutschman (middle to right) and other students and staff. The discussion was a part of the International Education Week from Nov. 17-21. (Maggie Sanders/Student Voice)

International Education Week is a program that was held Nov. 17-21 across the UW-River Falls campus to encourage students to become more globally aware.

According to Global Connections, International Education Week is a joint initiative between the U.S. Departments of Education and State. It celebrates the benefits of understanding the world around us so we can better communicate and collaborate with others from different cultures.

“We work with a lot of different departments and try to put in whatever they have going on,” said Megumi Kawase, an international student services coordinator. “We work with the modern language department too.”

On Nov. 17, people interested in Latin American countries could come and join other students who have lived or traveled there and share their experiences traveling through Latin America.

Students could also participate in the “World Map,” highlighting places where students have lived and traveled to.

“We wanted to increase awareness of how many international students we actually have on campus,” Kawase said. “We welcomed about 150 new international students this semester. Anything that has cultural things in it is like going to a different country when you’re staying on campus.”

This year UWRF has the “Experience China” program where students could learn about traditional Chinese culture. Nov. 18 was the Chinese calligraphy event; Chinese calligraphy is considered art and conveys the moral integrity, character, emotions, esthetic feelings and culture of the artist to readers affecting them by the power of appeal and the joy of beauty. And Experience China had a showing of the Chinese film “Coming Home” in the Kinni Theater.

Students could also experience a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony and explore the ritualized preparation and presentation of tea in a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony. The idea is that the spirit of the tea ceremony embodies the basic principles of harmony, respect and appreciation. The highlight for the evening on Nov. 20 was pipa soloist Gao Hong and a few of her students. They played traditional Chinese instruments such as the pipa, erhu, zheng, and ruan. Students were encouraged to attend the event hosted by the Experience China program. “Falcons Around the World” was a photo display where international students and former study abroad students could give Global Connections photos of their travels and share them with other students at UWRF. They were on display in the Heritage Hall for students to share experiences and learn about other countries around the world.

“We have students from 22 different countries,” Kawase said. “We also wanted to promote the outgoing part of global connections. We have students in 35 countries studying abroad and we think it’s a really great opportunity for students.”

Throughout the week, students could come together and share their traveling experience from around the world. Students from different countries could share what their culture is like for students who have never traveled outside the U.S. International Education Week is an ideal opportunity to inspire students to broaden their horizons through global learning, foreign languages and international exchange.