USD observes International Education Week

Pictured are Ebrin Stanley and Steven Schaeffer as Javert and Valjean, characters in the upcoming USD Theatre production of  “Les Misérables.”  (Photo courtesy of USD Theatre)

Pictured are Ebrin Stanley and Steven Schaeffer as Javert and Valjean, characters in the USD Theatre production of “Les Misérables.” Professors spoke Thursday, Nov. 21, about the historical events on which the play is based as part of International Education Week.
(Photo courtesy of USD Theatre)

By Travis Gulbrandson


The University of South Dakota offered a broader cultural perspective to its students recently when it observed International Education Week.

From Nov. 18-22, students had the opportunity to take part in a variety of global-themed events, from forums, to films, to fairs.

The week’s events were co-sponsored by the Center for Academic Engagement, the Center for International Programs and Events, the VP for Academic Affairs, Continuing and Distance Education and the graduate school.

“I really hope that students understand there’s a lot more to life than just college, and what’s right in front of them,” said Emily Dykstra, a graduate assistant at the Center for Academic Engagement. “I really want them to become aware of the international opportunities that are available to them, and to realize there’s a whole world out there. It’s really not that hard to experience it.”

Dykstra spent part of Thursday dispersing information about the week’s remaining events at a table in the Muenster University Center.

The week kicked off at noon Monday with an international forum that discussed relations between the United States and OPEC, which was followed in the evening by a cultural fair.

“We had a few different international students come and table with things from their cultures,” Dykstra said. “We had a Bangladeshi table, an Egyptian table, a Chinese table, and so the students were able to interact with them and see the things that are typical of their cultures.”

On Tuesday a session about the value of international experiences was held, and the film “Crossing Borders” was shown that night.

On Wednesday afternoon there was a dialogue about how minorities on campus are integrated socially and economically, and at 8 p.m. the film “No” – about an underground plot to oust Pinochet – was shown.

Thursday was the day of the “Global Palate,” which Dykstra called the week’s “crowning achievement.”

“We’re going to have an international food-tasting, and we’ll also have history professors come in and present about the history behind the play (“Les Misérables”) the theatre department is putting on.”

Free tickets to the show were given to the first 50 attendees of the “Global Palate.”

Dykstra said she was expecting a high turnout for the event.

“It’s going to be a very fun time,” she said.

On Friday there was a Caribbean drum performance over the noon hour, and from 6-9 p.m. a game night featuring activities from around the world.

International Education Week is observed each year.

“Nationally, it’s usually celebrated the third week in November,” Dykstra said “In the past we’ve done it in September, but this year we decided to do it with the national week so we would have more time to plan our events.”

International Education Week is a joint initiative between the US Department of State and the US Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

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