This year, the week of November 16th through the 20th marks International Education Week, or IEW, which is a time to celebrate international exchanges and to discuss the benefits of global education. At Rutgers University, we will be devoting two weeks to IEW and have a range of activities and programming taking place beginning on November 9th to mark the occasion. (Please visit our Rutgers IEW webpage to learn more.)
International Education Week was developed by both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote opportunities for American students to become more knowledgeable about the world around them and to make them more competitive in a global economy. IEW also encourages visitors from abroad to learn and experience the U.S. and all that it has to offer.
Why is Rutgers celebrating IEW with two weeks of programming this year? Greg Costalas, Assistant Director of Programs at Rutgers Global explains: “This is an unusual year in many respects, of course. Since there is so much going on around the university this year, students might not be able to attend as many virtual events in the course of one week, so we decided to spread out the programming over two weeks, beginning on November 9th, to accommodate as many members of our community as possible.”
Rutgers University has been celebrating IEW for nine years. Each year, Rutgers Global works with campus departments and centers to provide programming that invites the community to learn about the world around them, whether an event that is taking place on the other side of the globe or something happening in our own backyard. Rutgers Global has also provided programming for our international student population during IEW to help them acclimate to life in the U.S.
There are several virtual events open to the entire community this year as well as some new interactive programming elements including the "Express Your Global Self" online bulletin board. Costalas explains, “This quick, asynchronous, virtual activity powered by Padlet allows students, scholars, staff, and faculty members to post about their global self, by sharing a favorite story, book, movie, recipe, travel location, or dance, and why it is special to them. The idea is to have people from all over the world share something about themselves that makes them unique but also part of our global society.”
Many departments and centers around the university are taking part in the activities this year with relevant events and programming already scheduled during the weeks designated for IEW at Rutgers. These units, include the Center for African Studies, the South Asian Studies program, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Center for European Studies. Rutgers Global will also sponsor programming for our international student population this year.
Some past programs of note include the World Exchange Day fair, which brought together academic departments with international interests, study abroad programs, student groups which focus on global social issues, and the university's cultural centers to mark all the things Rutgers does to contribute to global understanding and collaboration.
Friendsgiving has been another popular IEW program (see this article from last year’s event). This joint project between Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) and Rutgers Global is a dinner that is open to all students—international and domestic—who wish to share and learn about how others celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Especially during this tumultuous year, it is as important as ever that we come together as a university and share our thoughts and ideas with others,” says Costalas. “Just because so many of us are studying and working from home, it doesn't mean that we should stop doing what we normally would be doing.” Indeed, taking part in an IEW event helps our community to stay connected with each other and supports Rutgers University’s mission to foster global engagement.
Get involved, and check out the activities for 2020 International Education Week(s) at Rutgers here.