International Education Week Ideas for 2013


The Melibee Hive has brainstormed a handful of fun and worthwhile events to celebrate International Education Week this November on your campus. (Special thanks to Melibee’s very own Maria Snyder for her fabulous ideas and writing!)

1. Be Peace: Being the big fans that we are of Peace One Day, we must mention this international day dedicated to peace! If your campus participated during the global day of peace on September 21st,  you can simply repeat the same activity. If not, check out the website for ideas; there are sports, music, education focused activities and more. Or simply show the film, available for free on Youtube! At the screening, put up a large white sheet of paper and make pens available for students to write down their ideas for spreading peace.

2. Get Green: Team with one of the green groups on campus or the campus sustainability office to host an activity that highlights the ways other countries are tackling environmental challenges. It could be a poster fair for the student union, a speaker panel with students and professors, or a slide show. Invite Ibrahim Abdul-Matin to campus to inspire students and challenge them to see the intersections between the environment and Islam or Michael Despines to share his wealth of experience working on sustainability across the globe. Feel free to check out some of our other IEW friendly speakers in our new speaker reel.

3. Create a Race: Pair up international and US students for your own version of “The Amazing Race.” However, to participate for the “prize” they must first attend a required cultural tips session that explains cultural communication that the show doesn’t cover such as it is not OK to yell at your taxi driver because he/she doesn’t speak your language, you cannot use offensive hand gestures or money to get your way, etc.. Or send student pairs on a photo scavenger hunt across campus during which they must find “hidden” international students and study abroad returnees. With each hidden student they must take a photo and ask a predetermined cultural question. Give a  creative prize, such as a scholarship for an education abroad experience.

4. Play a new sport: Get a popular sports team on campus to host a night playing an international sport (or maybe a whole mini-Olympics)! Partner with residence life to do a program in the dorms!  In the US, you can play a sport like cricket for a day! This game is popular around the world and your international students will be able to teach you how to play it!  Here is a simple video that also illustrates how:

Here is a website that sells cricket equipment! (Note: Melibee does not profit from you purchasing from the sports site.)

5. The way to a student’s heart is through his/her stomach: Throw an international potluck event. Returned education abroad students make a dish/ bring food/drink native to where they studied while international students make a dish from their home country. They can even bring tapas or small bites to make it easier and efficient. You can also put on food demonstrations. For example, use a theme like dumplings, and each student from a different country shows other students how to make dumplings in their own country – practice shaping them using homemade play moroccanfoodRamadan

dough if the real kitchen supplies are not available!

6. Host a Mini Film Fest: Show a different foreign film each night or several on the weekend. This is an ideal project to partner with interest themed housing on campus of foreign language clubs. Combine social media with posters on campus and sweeten the deal with international snacks. Films to include might be ‘Gegen die Wand’ (Head-On) for its multicultural themes or a more light-hearted film about study abroad like “L’auberge espagnole.”

7. Game time: Hold a small chess tournament with a brief explanation of the game’s Indian history. Combine that with a couple of tables set up in a high traffic area with other international games such “Chinese” Checkers or Go. If it’s difficult to get find the game boards you can make Mancala boards with nothing more than egg cartons and beans.

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Melibee speaker on Voluntourism and Social Entrepreneurship, Daniela Papi (Based in London, England)

 8. Inspiration + Knowledge: Bring in a speaker from to match your students’ interests on campus. Melibee’s expert in volunteering, interning and working abroad, Zahara Heckscher, can share her stories and advice with students, while Carrie Wagner can speak about faith based volunteer trips abroad. Daniela Papi is Melibee’s first Europe based speaker, spreading the word about what the challenges of voluntourism and how we really affect the places where we travel.

 9. Quiz Show in a new Language: Have an international trivia night or a tournament with teams at a popular spot on campus – but don’t have it in your home country language! Throw in some unique challenges by adding questions like international slang, name that song (only allowed to hum the music), celebrities, pop culture, and famous international foods!

10.  Before I die : Create a massive blackboard in a popular spot on campus and have students complete the following sentence:  “Before I die I want to travel to __________________ to study ___________.” Leave colorful chalk and encourage them to write their big travel abroad dreams. Take a photo at the end of IEW and use the data for marketing AND for program development.  Here is the blog post that inspired this idea!

We hope that this gets you inspired to have a great IEW!