Murray State University has just wrapped its 19th annual celebration of International Student Week. For almost two decades, the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has celebrated what it means to be a part of International Education by making International Student Week a nationally-recognized event.
Since its inception in 2000, International Student Week has been recognized by Murray State as a time to invite faculty, staff and students to participate in a variety of ways to honor the diversity of the University.
Martha Smith, the administrative assistant for the Institute of International Studies, said International Student Week is a way to bring college students and middle and high school students in the surrounding areas together to celebrate different cultures.
“International Student Week brings awareness on campus and in the surrounding community about various countries and cultures and…interest to our domestic students on campus about our various Education Abroad programs,” Smith said. “We invite middle school and high school age groups from all around western Kentucky to attend the International Bazaar and of course anyone on campus is welcome to attend.”
With the move of the International Student Office out of Woods Hall, the office was not able to put the usual amount of time into planning this year’s events. However, the Institute of International Studies still put together a wonderful array of programs to draw attention to international education.
“We held a silent auction where all proceeds went to study abroad scholarships, hosted the annual International Bazaar, and Lacy Risner hosted a presentation to encourage students to study abroad and make their dreams come true,” Smith said.
Most of the donations for the silent auction came from faculty and staff that have taught or traveled abroad with Murray State study abroad programs.
“We have a selection of over 100 items from all over the world,” Steven Guns, senior education abroad advisor, said. “Vases, paper fans, scrolls, wall decorations, jewelry, books, and much more.”
The funds will go into a general study abroad scholarship that can be applied for any program.
Ghizlane Zerradi, Emlyon Business School study abroad student, is very much thankful for events like the silent auction, which raises money for study abroad-related scholarships.
“It’s a good thing, and students are lucky to have this option,” Zerradi said.
Having the opportunity to earn scholarships further encourages students to study abroad.
“I think what the silent auction is doing is a good way to encourage students to study abroad,” Zerradi said. “Encouraging studies abroad is really important and a lot of schools forget about it.”
Although International Education Week may be over, the importance of International Education is year-round. International Education is a vital part of our community and can help us all grow and advance, as well as have professional opportunities.
“Many businesses look for employees who have had experience with other languages and cultures,” Smith said. “It’s important to learn about different cultures because we can all benefit from each other.”
International Education Week is a small reminder that we should always recognize how essential International Education is to connect our society.
“We live in a world that is globally connected and it is important to learn that even though we may speak different languages, we are all alike,” Smith said.