International Education Week, which was created around 20 years ago by the Department of State and Education, highlights the benefits of international exchange, Colleen Marchwick, the director in the Center for International Education, said.
“In Eau Claire, we have a pretty strong program for study abroad and international students,” Marchwick said. “It’s a long part of Eau Claire’s history.”
The first programs for study abroad began in the 1950s, when faculty members would drive students to places like Mexico, Marchwick said.
International Education Week is celebrated at UW-Eau Claire to highlight how people-to-people contact can increase understanding and reduce conflict between cultures, Marchwick said.
In 2019, based on 2017-2018 data, UW-Eau Claire ranked 17th in Master’s Granting for total number of study abroad students — totaling 515 students, according to a U.S. study abroad website.
Max Chong, a third-year computer science student, is a current international student from Malaysia at UW-Eau Claire.
“I chose Eau Claire because the spokesperson, Heather Pearson, who came to my college back home was pretty convincing,” Chong said. “She talked about how Eau Claire was large, but also cozy, with many internships and research possibilities.”
Chong said being halfway across the world in a foreign land shows him small differences in culture — like how people interact with each other in other parts of the world.
Madeline Waters, a second-year Spanish and communication studies student, said she learned that studying internationally is beneficial for people who are studying a language.
“Immersion is super important when trying to master a language,” Waters said. “So I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do so.”
Waters said she thinks celebrating international education is important because it’s important to be culturally aware — especially in today’s society.
“There are a plethora of different cultures in the world,” Waters said. “All of them are special and unique.”
Events for International Education Week at UW-Eau Claire will include:
9:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 — In Their Own Words: IEP Students Share Their Campus Experiences
11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 — Indian-themed lunch at Dulany Inn
2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19 — First Steps to Study Abroad
2 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 19 — EDI session for faculty and staff: Understanding Chinese Learners
3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19 — EDI session for faculty and staff: Dismantling the U.S. versus International Dichotomy: Creating synergy between intercultural and diversity/ social justice approaches
(Note: Intercultural approaches are adopted by those in organizations who engage in international and global efforts while diversity and social justice approaches are often viewed as only applicable in U.S. contexts, according to the UW-Eau Claire website.)
11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov 20 — Spanish-themed lunch at Dulany Inn
12 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov 20 — EDI session for faculty and staff: Locally grown, globally engaged: developing multicultural and intercultural competencies through undergraduate research
4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov 20 — Study Abroad: Beyond the classroom returnee panel
3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 21 — Course to Career: Leveraging your UW-Eau Claire education for international careers
3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 21 — First-time travelers information session
11:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov 22 — Chinese-themed lunch at Dulany Inn
“We hope to peak interest among students about either the idea of studying abroad or helping them become more open and curious to other cultures,” Marchwick said.
More information about International Education Week can be found on the UW-Eau Claire website.
Dirks can be reached at [email protected]