International Education Week will offer food, music and other cultural activities from students’ native countries.
By Daniel Carde
The department of language, philosophy and culture will host International Education Week Monday through Nov. 20 with 22 activities happening at various locations on campus.
The week, a joint initiative of the U.S. State and Education departments, is an opportunity for students to appreciate diversity and to learn about different cultures, said Sylvia Ybarra, English as a second language professor.
It’s easy to demonize different cultures, especially when the country is at war and the only thing people know about the culture are atrocities occurring within its borders, ESL Professor Elaine Hayden said.
Meeting people from other cultures is a good way to break down cultural barriers and learn “geez, they are not that different from us,” Hayden said.
Beginning in 2000, the week is now celebrated in more than 100 countries, according to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State’s website.
As part of the week, the Center for English Language Learning at this college will host “Travels Around the World” noon-2 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center.
“So few people know about these places, it’s great to have a special time to shine a light on the many different countries and the people of those countries,” Ybarra said.
The event will feature 14 different nations including Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Sedan, Algeria, Iraq, Vietnam and Colombia, with at least one student from each country acting as a cultural ambassador, Hayden said.
Students will bring food dishes native to their country, and some students will be dressed in traditional garb, Hayden said, noting that food is a great way to come together.
“They feel proud to represent their countries,” Ybarra said.
Learning about other cultures and meeting people from those cultures puts a human face to places people may not know about or ever visit, Hayden said.
Hayden encouraged students to come with an open-minded attitude and an appreciation for diversity and travel.
Ybarra recommended also attending “A Taste of Turkish Music” 11 a.m.-noon and “Japanese Calligraphy” 1-2 p.m. Monday in the lobby of Oppenheimer Academic Center and “Italian Food Cooking Demonstration” 2-3 p.m. Tuesday in the cafeteria of Loftin Student Center.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.alamo.edu/sac/IEW15 or call Ybarra at 210-486-1279.