‘Tis the Season for International Education
November 21, 2014
Today’s post is brought to you by one of our stellar Residential Managers, Dawn Habada. Dawn is based in Chicago and works with many of our school in Illinois and Indiana. She has been with gphomestay for over two years and is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about international education.
The holidays are once again upon us with pumpkin pie and Christmas lights heavy on our minds, but before we get too caught up in the hoopla of the upcoming holidays, I ask that we all take a moment to appreciate the benefits of international education. Whether we are students studying abroad, hosts welcoming students into our hearts and homes, academic institutions opening our doors for learning, or professionals dedicated to the field of international education, we are all a part of a unique and growing community dedicated to promoting cross-cultural awareness, understanding, and a globalized thought process. Every day each one of us serves as ambassadors, educators, and students of life promoting globalization throughout the world. I encourage all of us to celebrate and give thanks for our individual roles in international education.
“International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.”
In honor of this year’s International Education Week, the Office of International Programs at North Central College in Naperville, IL hosted an International Roundtable Lunch. This annual fundraiser for international education scholarships featured a panel of international students from around the world discussing the ramifications that globalization has had on their home countries. Guests enjoyed an international buffet highlighting dishes from Brazil, Egypt, India, Spain and the United States.
Attending this lunch on behalf of gphomestay was a great opportunity for me to gain new insight into the varying perspectives of globalization around the world and the impact it has had on individual lives. From tourism to terrorism, societal values to social media, evidence of globalization is everywhere.
“We are crying out for help…” a young woman from Kenya sighed as she described the soldier-filled, no travel zone in her nation of Kenya that has been brutalized by terrorist group, Al-Shabaab. Just a few seats down from her, a studious looking Spaniard, shared stories of prosperity and tourism in Spain and a Chinese girl spoke on the impact that communism has had on media censorship in China. As the international student panel continued, the audience comprised of students, faculty, and members of the local community became more and more humbled by what they heard. Each student highlighted a different story and another life impacted by globalization including the good, the bad, and the unknown. However, no matter how different they all were, somehow they all came to find themselves eating lunch at the same table, in the same room, at the same university in the same town in the heart of one of the greatest countries in the world.
Bringing people together from around the world to share their stories and exchange new ideas is the essence of what international education is all about and what we strive to achieve every day at gphomestay. As we all inevitably shift our focus in the direction of the busy holiday season, I would like to take a moment to give thanks for international education.
Thank you to North Central College in Naperville, IL for giving international students an opportunity to spread cross-cultural awareness in our local community by means of your international education scholarship fund.
Thank you to our host family communities for your patience, dedication, and love for our students.
Thank you to our schools who strive to set our students up for academic success and achievement.
Last but, not least, thank you to all of the international students, past, present, and future, who have impacted me in one way or another. You have opened my eyes to the world and for you, I am forever thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving and a “Merry” International Education Week to all! ‘Tis the season…
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