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International Education Week brings global education events to UW-River Falls

November 30, 2016

UW-River Falls International Student Services hosted International Education Week from Nov. 14-19 in collaboration with different offices on campus.

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education hold an annual International Education Week, and UWRF joined the week with eight of its own events. The events included an International Potluck, Republic Day of Brazil, Chopstick Challenge, Salsa Dance Night, Fair Trade Sale, “Racial Purgatory? Racism and Inequality in Brazilian Families,” World Trivia and Around the World Karaoke.

Corie Anderson, an intern with International Student Services, took a huge part in planning the event. For instance, Anderson and other members of the International Leadership Team researched fun facts about countries and made cards for the World Trivia event on Nov. 18.

“Because we believe in learning, it is an opportunity for everybody to learn a little bit and have some fun. It also ties into the strategic goal of global education and engagement,” said Katrina Larsen, executive director for International Education.

The International Education Week has been going on for number of years and has worked as an opportunity to recognize differences and what we can learn from each other, according to Larsen.

The difference between International Education week held in previous years and the one this year is, in the words of Conan Kmiecik, International Student Services coordinator, “There were just too much going on and it wasn’t specifically targeted towards different audiences as effectively as it could have been, and money was not spent as effectively as it could have been.”

“I don’t have a budget for this, so everything had to be either no cost or low cost. A lot of the things we use this year is a recycled material from last year like the map, photo booth props,” said Kmiecik, “[The] budget was a challenge, but it forces you to be creative.”

Yue Pheng Moua, a member of the International Leadership Team, said, “International Education Week is a good opportunity to better understand different cultures and get out of the comfort zone.”

International Education Week started off with the International Potluck on Nov. 14. The potluck continued from 6-8 p.m. It was a collaboration between Multicultural Student Services, Student Support Services, Global Programming Society and International Friendship Program partners.

Foods from all around the world including Kimbab, a Korean dish made from steamed white rice and various other ingredients, crab sushi and other desserts were provided at Ann Lydecker Living and Learning Center.

Pa Tang Thao, a student at UWRF, said, “This was my second time attending potluck. I think more international students were involved this year compared to last year.”

In line with the International Education Week, the Chancellor’s Thanksgiving Dinner happened on Sunday, Nov. 20.

When asked about next year, Kmiecik said, “I think we would do a better job with advertising and figuring out how to help students learn about what’s going on, but that’s again part of the challenge on how we give enough material that wouldn’t cost too much money. That’s something we would think about next year.”