Each year, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education, along with international education partners from around the world, collaborate in a joint effort to promote programs that prepare students and future leaders to study abroad to learn and grow from cultural exchange experiences. This year, International Education Week (IEW) starts on November 18 and runs through November 22, 2019. During the week, we join in celebrating the benefits of international education and global citizenship worldwide. Cambridge Network’s mission since its inception has been to further global citizenship and create equitable academic opportunities through “Expanding Human Perspectives and World Harmony Through Education.” As the world becomes increasingly globalized, we encourage our students and partners to continue to think deeply and critically about how our actions affect people in communities locally, nationally, and internationally. To be active global citizens, we should seek greater awareness of the wider world, more proactiveness in creating sustainable practices, and further responsibility in responding to injustice.
International Education Week provides the perfect opportunity for students, hosts, and schools to embrace global citizenship. Alongside other educators and international education organizations, the IEW hosts events across the country. We encourage everyone to participate! For individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities, follow this link to find an event near you!
If you’re interested in hosting your own IEW event, below are some ideas to weave into your school and greater community along with your international programs. Also, be sure not to forget other international holidays throughout the year!
Leverage Sponsored Events
IEW sponsors many events around the country that are free to enjoy. They include food festivals, multicultural fairs, family nights, and college information nights. Check out these sponsored events to see if there is one near you! If there are no events near you, but you’d like to start one within your community, you can register your event to make it official!
School & Community Activities
Host a Potluck – Food is a universal language that should be celebrated as much as possible. Potlucks are often the most popular events and help to enhance the relationship between the school community, students, and families.
Celebrate Traditional Dress – Whether it is one day or multiple themes throughout the week, don’t hesitate to encourage everyone to wear traditional wear from around the world!
Guest Speaker – Although you can request speakers through IEW, reach out to your staff or community and invite them to speak at a school assembly or class to talk about their life journey. We all have a story to share!
Essay Contest – Have students write an essay on somewhere they have been or want to travel. Encourage them to use their imagination about things they would do, people they would meet, and memories they would treasure.
Adopt a School – Partner with an overseas school in need of supplies and place boxes around your school and community to collect items to donate. It’s the little things we do in life that can make a tremendous difference.
Pen Pal – There is no better way to understand another culture than interacting and hearing about their experiences first hand! Find an international school and have your class write postcards to them once each month.
Explore the Arts – From music to film or dance to literature, bring adventure to the classroom by highlighting international instruments, artists, or composers.
Volunteer – Combining cultures through service is a great way to bolster learning and bonding with your international student. The IEW has volunteer opportunities available to individuals and families.
Play an International Sport – During recess or physical education, have students participate in something that is not played in the US or has a different element.
Start an International Club – Cambridge has seen many students start culture clubs or even Model UN. Having a club to celebrate and plan cultural events year-round can increase the already inclusive environment at your school and creating a greater buy-in from the community!
Whether you do something as big as attending or creating your event, to as small as cooking traditional favorites, the most important thing to remember is that you are learning about international exchange and different cultures throughout your curriculum and with your international students. Celebrating differences through education is what makes us global citizens!