Today marks the end of the 2013 International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchange. A number of events took place across the country in honor of IEW. We are proud of our outstanding NWCCI students who represented their countries and figured about creative ways to teach their new Washington communities about the places they call home. Read the article below to learn about the IEW events sponsored by the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI).
One highlight of International Education Week for NWCCI was the country fair at all three colleges. NWCCI students represented their countries and cultures through colorful and interactive table displays at the fairs. Pierce hosted their fair on Tuesday, and Edmonds and Whatcom hosted theirs on Wednesday. Each country was represented by colorful table displays that included pictures from home, slide shows, traditional clothing, jewelry and fabrics, quotes from national leaders, and delicious food and recipes. The highlights from the three fairs are too numerous to count! Indian and Bangladeshi students at Edmonds gave participants henna tattoos, Indonesian students at Whatcom taught attendees how to play with a traditional toy top called a gangsing, and Pierce students gave out buttons with pictures of flags and national symbols. One of our favorite buttons read “I have an Indonesian friend.” Edmonds students played music and performed a Brazilian dance. South African students at Whatcom made a delicious ginger and pineapple drink. Pierce students from Turkey explained how to make an eggplant dish called “The Priest Fainted.”
Over the past few weeks, NWCCI students worked hard to prepare displays and the students’ hard work definitely paid off. All three fairs were well attended with positive feedback from attendees. For example, Whatcom’s fair was attended by the college president, friendship families, faculty and staff, student nurse mentors, and friends. A number of faculty members at Edmonds, Pierce and Whatcom brought their classes and offered extra credit to students for attending the fair. Marguerite Shannon, faculty at Pierce, attended the fair with her daughter, and raved, “… it was wonderful and very informative. Every one of the presenters was an excellent ambassador for their individual country and so colorful in their traditional garments. Everyone should have taken the opportunity, it was well worth it! Thank you so much for sharing. I learned so much. Well done.”
All of the NWCCI students deserve a standing ovation for their hard work, they were truly cultural ambassadors this week. In addition to working hard, the students seemed to enjoy themselves. After the Country Fair at Pierce, Rara Yulianingtyas from Indonesia said, “I’m happy of how today went! It was really surprising to see people were really interested in knowing about our cultures. I wish we could do it the whole day.” Many NWCCI students expressed similar sentiments.
NWCCI students celebrated IEW with a number of other activities this week including a visit by Whatcom’s students to the Gates Foundation and Chinatown; a screening of the documentary 2 Million Minutes at Edmonds followed by a panel discussion with students from India, China, and the US; a series of cultural presentations from Pierce students; and a cultural identity workshop at Edmonds.