The University of Rhode Island is celebrating International Education Week this week to enhance international awareness across campus and to support global learning opportunities both nationally and abroad.
“We are a global society and it is so important to be a good global citizen,” said Sheri Davis, Coordinator for information, reservations and marketing at URI. “This event really opens students up to other cultures.”
The Memorial Union kicked off the celebration for IEW on Tuesday with “taste the world,” in the international atrium. The event honored two students from El Salvador and the Dominican Republic of the Congo with their country’s flags being added to the atrium as well as a buffet of their native foods. The students honored were Berenice Yang Gonzalez, a graduate student in Marine Affairs, and Beni Sele, a freshman psychology major from the DRC.
The event also gave other students the opportunity to try new foods and experience a little bit of a new culture. “The food was so good,” said a senior Mechanical Engineering student. “It was so different than what URI normally offers and there was actually a lot of vegetarian options which was awesome.”
Davis says that the “taste the world,” event is a great way to welcome international students to campus. She also said that it may encourage other students to study abroad. The event also included free photo magnets and a performance by the student dance group eXposure.
On Wednesday, URI offered a variety of informational sessions relating to furthering international education. The Freeman Asia Information Session provided details regarding the scholarships for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. The Harrington School and Sustainability Minor hosted a panel discussion including expert speakers on Intercultural Communication, the Zero Hunger Goal and Dimensions of Communication for Social Change. This event utilized case studies from Africa, Europe, Latin America and South Asia. Other events exposed students to study abroad scholarship opportunities and resume building.
The final event on Wednesday was “International Trivia Night” in the Robert J. Higgins Welcome Center Lounge. At this event, students were able to test their global knowledge with the International Center. Topics included international–pop culture, entertainment, current events, history and music. The winners each received a $50 gift card.
So far, the events of IEW have had a positive impact on URI students who have attended. “Our current education is very Eurocentric, so I like that this week gives us another perspective. I think it is super important,” said junior Sociology major, Katie Connolly.
Thursday offers even more international information sessions. Students can attend the Boren Awards Information Session at 3:30 p.m. in Lippitt Hall, Room 402 or the Beatrice S. Demers Foreign Language Fellows Program Information Session at 5 p.m. in the Doody Auditorium of Swan Hall to learn about scholarship opportunities relating to foreign language studies. The final event on Thursday will be a panel of Peace Corps volunteers in the Doody Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Four Peace Corps volunteers will share their experiences about volunteering and living abroad for two years in Rwanda, Peru and the Philippines.
URI will end the week with three events in the Memorial Union on Friday: a faculty-led program director workshop at 2 p.m. in Room 308; the Gilman International Scholarships panel at 3 p.m. in Atrium 2; and the“Internationalization on Canvas” coffee hour at 5 p.m. in Room 308, where students, faculty and families can join the International Center in a collaborative painting event.