International Education Week kicks off Nov. 11 and will feature a week of events hosted by the International Club. The events are meant to educate students about different countries, promote study abroad programs and expose students to other international club members.
Skye Gravenstuk, junior communication studies major and chair of International Education Week, said the experience would be beneficial to students.
“Basically what it is meant to do is show the diversity of voices of people who have studied abroad,” Gravenstuk said. “It’s kind of a way to experience the globalization of our world and open students’ minds to what’s really out there.”
Monday, the club will hold an International Fair in the R.C. Cook Union from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Students will display boards about their native countries or countries they have visited. Students will also share music or dances from their respective countries.
Tuesday, there will be a Study Abroad Fair in R.C. Cook Union from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The fair is a large informational session for students who are interested in studying abroad.
Thursday, the Honors College will host a cultural fair in the Honor House from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. International students and students who have studied abroad are invited to participate. Students are encouraged to bring an international dish of their choosing and share stories of their time abroad.
At 6 p.m., a talent show will be held in Gonzales Auditorium in the Liberal Arts Building. Students can display any talents they wish but no English speaking is allowed.
“We have a huge international student population here at Southern Miss so we are trying to get them involved and to get more of a cultural combination with everyone on campus,” Gravenstuk said. “I think a lot of the time some international students feel like they are a little bit separate from the mass population at Southern Miss.”
“I think it’s important we all get involved with each other. It gives you an opportunity to learn a lot about other cultures you might [not] have been exposed to before,” she added.
Gravenstuk hopes students really see the value of learning about international cultures.
“It’s really easy to get [sucked into] Hattiesburg and not really see the world around you,” she said. “It’s a good way to really open your eyes and see what’s out there and get to know people from different cultures, different countries.”
Gravenstuck said it’s easy to get involved internationally and it’s important for students to study abroad when they’re young.
“It’s a good way to be aware of the international world we live in. When you only know your own culture, you’re missing out on everything else in the world around you,” she added.
According to the Chicago Tribune, international career experts said in a global economy, employers increasingly value experiences that are gained from study abroad. It’s a good way to stand out from peers, and shows that student can work and live internationally.
Rakeem Daniels, a senior biology major and social chair of the International Club, gained a lot of experience during his semester abroad.
“Study abroad is valuable because you get in touch with a different part of yourself that you wouldn’t think you would,” he said. “It gives you a sense of self and builds your confidence, and you just gain so much from it. It breaks those barriers down that you put on your own abilities.”
For more information about International Education Week, like International Education Week at Southern Miss on Facebook. For information about study abroad programs, visit www.usm.edu/study-abroad.