Top Ten Ideas for International Education Week

International Education Week is November 15 – 19, 2010. Here are Melibee’s Top Ten Ideas for International Education Week:

1) Flip on Cole Blaise’s “Studies Abroad” internet based series and run it in a loop in a popular location on campus: Blaise studied in the Czech Republic and made a web “series” of of his experience. Students will LOVE his humor, honesty and antics as he travels in the Czech Republic and Europe, handles a visit to the local ER after accidentally slicing open his finger, and gets to go on stage to sing with the band Chumbawumba!

2)  Create an awareness campaign: How about “Got International Ed?” (a play on the “Got Milk” campaign.)  Post your campaign signs anywhere that represents int’l (dept, event, etc). Here is a creative campaign idea from the University of British Columbia (Canada):

3) Offer 15 minute mini language lessons: Have faculty and int’l students teach 15 minutes of language! Set up the mini language lessons close to each other, so students can pop in and out. They’ll learn a couple of key phrases in a new language, even if the language is not taught on your campus! Play music and have food from the countries where these languages are spoken to pull students in.

4) Create a panel that highlights how international experiences have impacted life and career decisions over the years: But this time illustrate how these experiences impacted participants over time by having a recently returned study abroad student, then a recent grad who is 3-5 years out of school, then someone who was abroad for the first time 20 years ago. This way students can see how the reflections change over time (or don’t!)  And have a student on the panel who DIDN’T study abroad – and WISHED they had!

5) Bring in some hip young speakers to talk about diversity in our own country: For example, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq from the project are speaking at colleges this fall (and spring), sharing stories about visiting 30 mosques in 30 days in 30 states over Ramadan. They learned about Muslims in America – and many are immigrants.  Their story was covered by CNN, ABC, Fox, NPR, Al Jazeera and other major news outlets.  Aman and Bassam are two very dynamic “twenty somethings” – your students will relate to them.  I am helping Aman and Bassam with bookings (with no additional fee to schools), so contact me if you’d like information on how to get them to your campus.

6) Another great speaker to bring to campus is Michael Despines: Michael offers a fantastic multimedia presentation and lecture about how environmental decisions made in the US impact the rest of the world. Michael was a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon and lived in Africa for 17 years. He worked for the International Rescue Committee for many years, and is deeply passionate about the state of our planet. I am able to schedule Michael with no additional fee to schools – please contact me if you’re interested.

7) Make a visual statement: Ask anyone on your campus who has studied abroad (or who is studying abroad in your country) to wear a specific color shirt that day.  Better yet, give them a shirt to wear that says “Ask me about my experience abroad!

8) Create dialogue through film: Next year is the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. To create dialogue about the tension between Islam and the west, consider screening the film Crossing Borders on your campus. This film is a “must see” – your students will fall in love with each student in the documentary.  Find a film that seems relevant to your campus – there are so many to choose from!  (I do realize that there is no #8 ahead of this “idea” – there is a mysterious smiley face that I can’t seem to get rid of….forgive the IT glitch and let’s all take it as a sign that we must smile more! LOL!)

9) Think global, using local resources: Recognizing that the economy is making it particularly difficult for many students to purchase a plane ticket at the moment, create an opportunity for them to engage them in local culture. Invite local community organizations to campus and explore how students can continue to pursue their learning closer to home. (This should be done anyway, but perhaps is being discussed more in this economy.)

10) Create a quiz about other countries and cultures: Put it on your university HOME PAGE.  After all, we are charged with educating our communities too, right?