Gaining global perspectives through food and fairs

By Mylin Batipps
News Assistant

Students at the College received a small sample of cultures from around the world during this year’s International Education Week, taking place from Monday, Nov. 17, through Friday, Nov .21.

Students catch a glimpse of studying abroad during International Education Week. (Photo courtesy of Neel Desai)
Students catch a glimpse of studying abroad during International Education Week. (Photo courtesy of Neel Desai)

Hosted by the Center for Global Engagement and the Department of Residential Education and Housing, International Education Week provided multiple opportunities for students to gain perspectives on things happening not just in front of their eyes, but also globally. Through study abroad fairs, sit-down opportunities with international students and an exotic-themed lunch in Eickhoff Dining Hall, students were able to learn about world cultures, traditions and lifestyles and compare those to their own.

In previous years, the College only recognized International Education Week through Trip Around the World — a student-run cultural festival in which students enjoyed food samples and performances from international clubs like the Asian American Association, Italian Club and Hellenic Society. However, this year, Trip Around the World was a small component of the week-long celebration at the College.

“This year, the office wanted to highlight more events that were happening around the campus to celebrate internationalization,” International Student Advisor Joanne Bateup said.  “Every week for our office is International Education Week, but elevating the visibility of these events and registering them with the Department of State as official International Education Week events allows us to gain more recognition for what TCNJ students, faculty and staff are doing to ‘go global.’”

Students were able to gain some of those perspectives through Education Around the World, a student panel ran by Hannah Pawlak, senior special education and English major and president of the Student New Jersey Education Association. The panel exposed students to various similarities and differences of international education systems. Although it was targeted toward education majors, anyone interested in comparative education were welcomed to the panel discussion.

“The key points that were discussed were classroom norms and expectations, assessments and homework, instructor norms and expectations, sequencing, and amount of time spent on studies,” Bateup said.

The Center for Global Engagement also emphasized the importance of studying abroad during International Education Week.  In addition to a student panel dedicated to the discussion of studying abroad, an information table was set up in the Brower Student Center on Wednesday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 21.

Senior business major Neel Desai exposed students to eight different faculty-led programs for the approaching winter, spring and summer semesters. The programs include a trip to Madrid, Cornwall, Greece, Turkey and Harlaxton. According to Desai, opportunities snowball from studying abroad.

“Just going abroad I got an internship opportunity,” Desai said. “I never thought about that happening.”

Desai added that by going abroad, students change their perception of themselves and people around them for the better.

“You just learn so much about yourself, about other people and about other cultures, and it’s an experience that you’ll never understand until you go abroad,” he said. “And when you come back, you see the world in a whole different way.”

Students realize there is so much diversity in the College to appreciate from celebrating International Education Week, according to Bateup.

“Internationalization is not only outside of the College, but also within our campus,” she said.  “International Education Week allows the global nomads and internationals in our community the opportunity to showcase what they have to offer and allows everyone to learn from the diverse perspectives that create our campus.”