West Chester University (WCU) is celebrating International Education Week (IEW), an annual global celebration for international students and abroad education, this Nov. 8–12, 2021.
Each year, the Center for International Programs (CIP) sets aside a week during the academic calendar to both honor international students, as well as the diversity of West Chester’s campus. According to WCU’s website, the center hosts events all throughout this week “to recognize international students, education abroad and internationalization, and to celebrate global learning and education both in the classroom and in our daily lives.”
“The week highlights international diversity and promotes opportunities to experience new cultures,” says Associate Provost for Global Engagement Angela Howard. “We have programs and events for faculty, staff and students.”
International Education Week events include the following (additional information available at wcupa.edu):
- Country Expo (Nov. 8): International students will showcase information about their home country and culture.
- Global Taste (Nov. 9): An event with dishes from around the globe, as well as live music.
- Study Abroad Fair (Nov. 10): Representatives from WCU’s faculty as well as study abroad partners will be available to speak with students about international learning opportunities (e.g. studying, volunteering, interning and teaching abroad).
- Envisioning Your Global Career (Nov. 11): An event with roundtable sessions for students to learn how to pursue a global career, facilitated by the Career Development Center.
- Human Rights: Local Responses to Global Issues for Refugees and Immigrants (Nov. 11): Global Studies and Political Science students will read or perform original expressions of their reflections on local responses to human rights issues.
Howard states that the goal of IEW is “to promote communication and a deeper understanding between different cultures at WCU.”
The Quad also conducted an interview with Angela Howard for insight into her new role as Associate Provost for Global Engagement and for more information about International Education Week. This interview has been edited for grammar and clarity.
Congratulations on your new position as the new Associate Provost for Global Engagement! What does your role involve?
Thank you! My role involves leading and facilitating the institution’s comprehensive internationalization efforts related to international education. This includes implementing the action items identified in a self-study on internationalization to ensure the institution continues to meet its strategic plan goals related to internationalization.
Do you have certain goals/visions of what you want to accomplish within this role? If so, what are they?
Our immediate goals are to increase access and participation in study abroad, develop sustainable international partnerships and promote and support faculty and staff internationalization projects/activities.
What is the role of the Center for International Programs (CIP)? What should students know about CIP?
The CIP supports the unique talents and contributions of each member of our community. We support the institution’s efforts to prepare students to be global citizens through a variety of support services for international students, visiting scholars, education abroad and the National Student Exchange. We also collaborate with campus constituents to enhance educational opportunities and assist faculty and staff with international projects.
Have there been any changes within CIP that you would like to share, or are changes you believe students should know?
Emily Rooney has joined our staff as the Assistant Director of International Programs. Ms. Rooney is a graduate of WCU, studied abroad and was a student volunteer with our office. She lived in Spain for five years and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and South America and has visited nineteen countries. Ms. Rooney advises students interested in studying abroad with our affiliate partners and is the Designated School Official (DSO), issuing immigration documents for admitted international students to apply for the study visa.
What has it been like to navigate global education/study abroad opportunities in a post-pandemic climate?
Wow, great question! Navigating study abroad during the global pandemic includes being aware of country entry/exit requirements and other travel restrictions. The CIP is closely monitoring any changes that might impact the learning experience. However, planning our “restart” of international travel has been rewarding. We are happy to report the CIP has been advising students and reviewing study abroad applications. Our theme for this year is “Rams Return Abroad.” We have students studying abroad for a full semester beginning in spring 2022 and have 15 faculty-led programs scheduled to travel this summer.
For more information about International Education Week and its events, visit West Chester University’s website.
Julien Padillo is a fourth-year Media & Culture major with a minor in Digital Marketing. JP913571@wcupa.edu