International Education Week Ideas for 2012

This year I challenged the Melibee Global interns to dig deep and come up with even more innovation around International Education Week 2012.  As always, they delivered!  Senior Melibee intern, Danielle Sleeper compiled the team’s great tip in today’s guest post.

This year, International Education Week will take place between November 12th – 16th. It can be a challenge to come up with new and creative educational programming year after year after year. But just when you think you are at your wits end, we at Melibee Global Education are here to help! Our uber-talented intern team recently put their thinking caps together well in advance of International Education Week (IEW) 2012 so that you are well-prepared come this school year.

Drum roll please…

Here are ten inspirational, innovative, international education ideas that will make your IEW 2012 unforgettable:

  1. Host a slang session: Dunno what chevere means? That’s wack! Invite native speakers of various language groups to teach non-native speakers some common colloquialisms or fun slang that will help non-native speakers learn how people really speak in daily life with one another. Examples can be words that are currently popular with youth (ie: such as YOLO here in the US), or idiomatic expressions that are difficult for non-native learners to understand (example from France: Il est un lapin chaud (literally ‘He is a hot rabbit’ used to describe a very flirtatious male). At the end of the session, see if participants can stage a short skit where they act out a dialogue using the new slang they have learned.
  2. Organize a foreign book club: Choose a contemporary foreign novel (available both in English and the native language if possible) or a globally-themed book and publicize it well in advance of IEW, so that interested participants may read it. Organize a coffeehouse gathering or roundtable discussion about the book, incorporating discussion about any differences between contemporary American novels and the chosen novel. Depending on the novel that you choose, this could lead into discussion about certain contemporary issues for that region. Some books we recommend are by Melibee speakers – Giving With Gratitude: Lessons Learned Living in West Africa by Katie Krueger (you can purchase it below) and Village Wisdom by Carrie Wagner. Find a longer suggested book list here:
  3. Tap into Twitter and initiate an IEW Tweet-off: Come up with a hashtag specific to your institution (ex: IEWeekFSU). Post fliers around campus publicizing the hashtag so that students know they are invited to share their ideas, thoughts, and experiences with international education throughout the week. At the end of the week or during a large event that is part of your IEW, consider posting some of the tweets on a big mural or setting up a computer station that projects the live Twitter feed. Two great tools to project Tweets at live events are available at Visible Tweets and #twubs.
  4. Dance dance dance at an IEW Flash Mob: Promote IEW at your campus by raising awareness through a fun and entertaining flash mob. After speaking with administrators to ensure that it will not be disruptive to classes, choose a time and location to stage the flash mob. Have participants all hold a sign or poster promoting IEW to use at the designated time, use international music in different languages, and try out dance moves from a different country. Be creative as you want—the goal is to get as many people as possible to see the flash mob and wonder what IEW is …and want to find out more. Here is  a video to keep you inspired:
  5. Inform the Campus about International Student Mobility: Post the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors Report figures for your institution around your school to raise awareness of where your institution stands in relation to other institutions. Tie this in with institutional initiatives to show how your institution has made progress or to demonstrate how much more work you still need to do. Put up posters, make mini fliers to leave on tables, Tweet the facts, and have people hand out fliers around campus to get the stats out!
  6. International Radio: If your school has a campus-wide radio or TV station, see if you can get them to set aside an hour each day to play international songs or show international music videos. Tie in IEW campaign material to ensure students are aware that IEW is occurring at your campus! You can find some stimulating music selections on Melibee’s 8tracks list found here:
  7. Sound off at the Global Monologues (a la Vagina Monologues): For this event, students with global experience can write a two to four minute monologue about their time abroad, thoughts on cultural identity, or perspectives on world affairs and submit it. Pick the top 10 or 15 submissions for a performance on campus! Encourage reflections and stories that are comical, serious, light-hearted, sad, etc. Our Melibee Speakers, Will McInerney and Kane Smego, are professional spoken word artists who would be happy to help your students articulate their reflections and practice performance. Hold their workshop at the beginning of IEW for all students and plan a performance as the week’s final event.
  8. Facilitate an Interfaith Dialogue Series: Invite leadership from the spiritual life center on your campus and different places of worship in the greater local community to host a brown-bag lunch dialogue series about interfaith issues. Ensure a variety of religious (and non-religious) leadership is represented. Topics to explore include: The influence of religion and secularism on culture and daily life, the significance of religion and secularism in citizen diplomacy, or the intersection of faith and sustainable living. Another creative approach to this event is to invite Melibee speaker, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, to lead a conversation on how Islam teaches about protecting the planet.
  9. Blog about a ‘Day in the Life’: Partner with another university (or several) abroad, and invite students on campus and overseas to take pictures of their daily life to share on a joint blog platform (e.g. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc). Students use digital cameras to take pictures of their personal life and culture for one week, posting a new picture on the blog each day. To culminate, host a virtual celebration via Skype or Google Hangout for participating students to meet.  Be sure to include your international students from your campus too!
  10. Host an International Bake Sale: Whose cuisine reigns supreme? Invite students, faculty, staff, and others from the campus community to contribute baked goods from around the world that are new to people and sell as a way to raise money for an important global cause.

And if those are enough ideas, check out our previous IEW blog posts:




Whenever possible, make sure to involve other groups on campus. Depending on the campus culture, reach out to Greek life, sports teams, arts and culture organizations, GLBT clubs, acapella groups, the spiritual life center, health and wellness center, everyone! Not only will you reach a wider audience and capitalize on some cool creativity, you will also be able to distribute the burden of planning and organization.

Finally, visit the State Department’s official website for International Education Week and stay up-to-date on its Facebook page. (At the moment, it appears the IEW Facebook page has more current information).

We look forward to your shared ideas in the comment section below! Happy International Education Week 2012!

About the Author:  Danielle Sleeper is Melibee’s Senior Intern.  Read more about her here.

One comment

  1. Pete says:

    I love the idea of a slang session. I’m Australian and we are the world leaders in slang. Always motivational and indeed educational !

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