Boston College celebrated International Education Week—spanning from Nov. 15 to 19—with 41 campus-wide events throughout the month of November.
One of the events was a panel hosted by the Office of International Students and Scholars on Nov. 10 and was titled “International Student Experiences and Perspectives on Global Crisis.” Past and present BC international students led discussions centered around the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, climate change, and immigration.
“Our theme this year is healing along the fault lines, enduring crisis, maintaining resilience, strengthening engagement and ensuring justice,” said panel host Adrienne Nussbaum, the director of the Office of International Students and Scholars.
Panelists first discussed the pandemic.
Carolina Ali Fojaco, Lynch ’22, spoke about how teachers worked to compensate for their students in Mexico during a period of online learning during the pandemic. She said parents and teachers are now working to compensate for the missed school days throughout southern Mexico, where she is from.
“[The education crisis in Mexico] has also brought a lot of awareness, On the bright side, I must say that Mexico is a very resilient country. It always comes out of crisis. We are a very collaborative community. We always help each other to thrive,” she said.
Then, Rev. Jean Okey Ike, STM ’24 talked about coming to BC from Nigeria. He said ostracization in his first days prompted him to question his identity.
“I noticed that people were avoiding me in public spaces,” he said. “I’ve continued to ask myself what the problem really is because I see myself as harmless.”
Ike said everyone, despite ethnic differences, should come together against racism.
“I want to call upon everyone for all of us to join hands together and speak against racism because I see this world as a beautiful place,” Ike said. “Many of us come from different backgrounds and different colors and experiences. Variety is the spice of life.”
In addition to speaker and panelist events throughout the month, BC celebrated International Education Week through other festivities. Throughout the week, Dining Services offered a Global Eats dinner menu at Carney’s, Lower, and Stuart.
On Nov. 11, Stuart served students a Korean-style rice bowl, Mediterranean cod, churros, and Pollo a la Brasa, a Peruvian chicken dish. Large Jamaican and Mexican flags spanned near the meal stations and salsa music streamed out of the speakers.
“It was the most festive and lively I’ve ever seen the Stuart dining hall,” Katy McBribe, BC ’25, said. “I think food is a great way to learn about different cultures. Instead of being told about different ways of life, you’re experiencing them.”
McBribe said it was the first time she had heard of the dishes.
“I’m usually not an adventurous eater,” McBribe said. “But I was intrigued by the Peruvian dish and discovered I actually really liked the flavorful Pollo a la Brasa. It’s inspired me to be more open minded to different types of foods from different places.”
The evening impressed both Mcbride and her friend, Christiane Mandes, MCAS ’25. The event, Mandes said, helped her break the BC bubble.
“Living on Newton makes it hard to go to certain events on main,” Mandes said. “So celebrating International Education Week from the comfort of Stuart is really convenient. Events like these help you remember how big and diverse the world we live in is. It helps you get out of that ‘BC Bubble.’”
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff