With a 21 percent increase this past year of Chinese students studying abroad in United States universities, international education has sparked interest in students globally and locally.
Students of many countries spent the week learning and exploring global cultures through Murray State’s annual International Education week, hosted by the Institute for International Studies.
The week included various presentations, activities and different foods from all over the world served by Winslow Dining Hall and the Thoroughbred Room.
Kicking off the week was “Tweet, Create and Point” in the Curris Center, a group project sponsored by the College of Education’s human development and leadership “group processes” class.
The class developed a project for the week that allowed students to pinpoint their hometowns on a world map, taste different teas and foods, write goals for the future and hashtag something on large boards.
Saudi Arabian graduate students Maram Aljaid and Nora Alshaie supervised part of the project, which was intended to help different cultures become involved with each other through the work.
“Many people were happy to participate,” Aljaid said. “Through this, we can know the diversity of Murray State. We can communicate better if we understand other cultures.”
The world map provided by the class showed the diversity of the students who participated. While most of the pinpoints were from the U.S., there were others from across the globe including Saudi Arabia and England.
With the celebration of different cultures in Murray and at the University, education abroad adviser Steven Guns discussed with students how they can afford to experience those cultures with the help of study abroad scholarships.
“We’ve been graced with people caring about study abroad right now and giving us funds to be able to give out those scholarships,” Guns said. “Students are getting sometimes $1,500 to $2,000. That’s your plane ticket and more.”
The week was also spent exploring different aspects of international culture ranging from a Chinese calligraphy workshop to a silent auction and a food competition between the residential colleges.
While students participated in International Education week, Aleks Mitric, junior from London said he believes there should be more ways available to help get international students more involved with others.
Mitric, who came to Murray State on a tennis scholarship, said he experienced a large culture shock with the weather, food and school changes, but has seen help from those at Woods Hall.
However, he said Murray State should help international students become more involved outside of the classroom.
“I think to help international students feel more included is mix them in with the American students more,” Mitric said. “I find that international students stick to their own cultures and don’t really become good friends with the Americans. I think you should make more programs that can link them with the Americans and with other cultures.”
International student facts:
• The student body represents 48 foreign countries
• International student enrollment at Murray State increased 18 percent in 2012 from 2011
• Murray State is the first public university and the third academic institution in the world to be designated as an International Safe Community by the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Community Safety
Story by Mary Bradley, Staff writer