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Walter International Education Center at 15 Park Place, Athens, Ohio.

International Education Week highlights interconnectedness

Colleges across the globe are celebrating International Education, or IEW. Nov. 16-20 celebrates and acknowledges international students throughout the U.S.

The Ohio University Office of Global Affairs and International Studies celebrated this week with virtual events and activities for students and faculty.

“This year, we want to get more people involved with this week and learn more about the opportunities we provide at the Global Affairs Office,” David Koonce, associate dean of the graduate college, said.

Many of this week’s Global Affairs activities included guest speakers and virtual tours of different cultures and countries.

“We have been doing as much as we can to keep the experience good and for people to enjoy,” Ji-Yeung Jang, interim executive director for Global Affairs, said.

Guest lectures included faculty, staff and alumni who work closely with international affairs and language. 

“Education is key, and we have been teaching people all about the opportunities that learning about other countries and cultures can bring,” Koonce said.

Due to the pandemic, this year's theme of IEW is “Global Interconnectedness” and focuses on teaching students about resources available to them as well as staying connected. 

“These students have been faced with hard challenges,” Jang said. “Not only can they not go home due to the international border closure, but also they rely on the university for jobs — and they have no (jobs).”

Traditionally, the week closes with an awards ceremony by Global Affairs for notable students and alumni who have been active in the community. This year, however, the awards have a new meaning.

“We really want to highlight international students who continue to work hard even during these hard times,” Jang said. “So the awards are being offered as a spotlight to those in the community even for doing little things.”

Many featured students shared their stories about what they’ve done during the pandemic.

“They have worked hard and many deserve to be recognized for it,” Koonce said.

The week has also served as a fundraising opportunity for Global Affairs.

“We’ve started a kudos fundraiser for current and graduating students who have struggled during this pandemic for money,” Jang said. “We’ve been so thankful and proud for those who have donated so far.” 

Even though the events are virtual, Global Affairs is still happy and excited for this week and what’s coming from it.

“While things may be different the good thing has been the number of people who have participated in what we’ve done so far,” Jang said. “That’s the good thing about being online: anyone in the world can see and join in.”

Not only has it been a good experience for those involved in the week, but also for those who’ve participated.

“I feel like this is really good for those who want to learn more about international countries and culture,” Mia Ashby, a freshman studying journalism, said.

So far, many have participated in the week’s events. However, both Jang and Koonce want an emphasis on international education to continue through the school year.

“It’s important that we keep the discussion going because this not only benefits international students, but also students right here in Ohio as well,” Koonce said.

Global Affairs created a page about the week on the university’s official site. There are links to many of the events, awards and the kudos page for donations.

“We want students to continue to share their stories throughout the entire school year,” Jang said. “We created #OHIOIEW2020 so students can share their stories on social media. From there, they can continue to share even after the week has ended.”


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