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Events Highlight Benefits of an International Education

Week Showcases the Breadth and Depth of International Intiatives On Campus

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

International Education Week took place last week from Nov. 14 to 18. Through a series of events, the week sought to promote the benefits of international education at Boston College.

Organized by the Office of International Students and Scholars, a wide variety of events were offered, ranging from a discussion of Higher Education and the Arab Spring to a Bollywood film viewing. With over 30 events, however, students were overwhelmed with options.

"One of the purposes of International Education is to highlight the breadth and depth of international initiatives on the BC campus," said Adrienne Nussbaum, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. "There is no other forum where members of the BC community can fully appreciate all of the many diverse programs and activities that are available at BC.

"The events are targeted to different audiences," Nussbaum said. "Although BC is very focused towards undergraduates, International Education Week is meant to be open to all members of the BC community, and therefore we wanted programs that would be of interest to all of them. We also wanted a nice mix of academic, as well as cultural and social programs."

Yet, with so many events, and overlapping of timing between them, it was easy to be overwhelmed initially.

However, the number of events was merely a means of demonstrating the cultural diversity on campus. Throughout the week, there was a focus on all areas of the world, with specific emphasis on the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The BC alumni Going Beyond the Heights event was an example of the broad and insightful events that were available last week. The event was in the form of a panel for international social work, with alumni who had spent time working in areas such as Belize, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Belgium. Their experiences, working for institutions such as the World Health Organization and the International Rescue Committee were testament to the multiple international opportunities that BC has to offer current and prospective students.

Additionally, the Occupy Wall Street Event with Charles Derber and Boston College Occupies Boston was a particularly interesting talk in light of recent events. The talk focused on establishing the historical context of the Occupy movement as well as providing a forum for debate and discussion regarding key issues among the student body.

The View of the U.S. from Abroad and Educational Systems in Singapore were examples of events that aimed to improve knowledge and awareness of the world's cultures on a readily-accessible platform.

Organizers felt that reducing the number of events available during International Education Week would undermine the objectives of the week itself. With a desire to promote intercultural awareness and knowledge of international initiatives on campus, the quantity of events was exemplary of the diverse range of opportunities that are offered at BC, Nussbaum said.

"I do not believe there is any such thing as ‘overkill' when it comes to expanding the understanding, awareness, and appreciation of other countries and cultures," she said. "This type of knowledge is greatly needed in just about any profession you can think of from education, to business, to social services."

With more co-sponsors than ever this year, International Education Week looks to be even bigger next year, as it becomes an institutional tradition at BC.

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