Campus to celebrate International Education Week

Author: Arts and Letters


Because graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame hail from more than 100 countries worldwide, and the University offers international study programs in 19 nations, annually ranking at or near the top of major research universities in the percentage of students studying abroad, it would seem annual International Education Week (IEW) events on campus would be as popular as an Irish football game.

Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but the event, to be celebrated Nov. 13 to 17 (Monday to Friday), is becoming increasingly attractive to faculty and students, who are enjoying the lively cultural presentations and generating new and interesting ways to get the campus involved.

Junior Yurianna Kim was born in South Korea and grew up in the U.S. She is organizing an international quiz bowl for undergraduate residence halls.

“I think this will be a fun way to test people’s knowledge, or perhaps ignorance of, other countries and their colorful cultures,” she said. “It is far too easy in the U.S. and at Notre Dame, for that matter, to become enclosed in a bubble where we think we are the center of the universe when there is so much more out there to explore and understand. I am passionate about spreading international awareness because, hopefully, understanding will lead to less ethnocentrism within the student body.”

Marked by a variety of activities sponsored by student cultural clubs, as well as samplings of international cuisines and hand-crafted gifts from developing countries,IEW will be highlighted by presentations by Rick Steves, travel writer, activist and PBS radio and television personality.

Steves will deliver a lecture titled “How to Travel Smart” and sign copies of his books at 7:30p.m. Nov. 13 (Monday) in McKenna Hall. He will give a second talk titled “The Value of Travel in Shaping a Global Perspective” at 4:30p.m. Nov. 14 (Tuesday) in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business. This presentation will focus on Steves’ philosophy about the need for Americans to broaden their global perspective through travel. Both events are free and open to the public.

After spending 100 days every year in Europe for the last 25 years, Steves, the author of 30 European travel guidebooks and host of the PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe,” believes that thoughtful travel, which “challenges truths we were raised to think were self-evident and God-given,” is a powerful way for Americans to broaden their perspectives. He will explore how his social activism has grown through his travel experiences, and how his journeys have sparked his commitment to peace, service and social justice issues.

“International Education Week, which is sponsored on myriad campuses around the country, marks a time of reflection, celebration and hope,” said Julia Douthwaite, Notre Dame’s assistant provost for international studies. “As we work to make our campus a more welcoming place for people of diverse backgrounds and a haven for cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, the event has become an important milestone during our year.”

Senior Hamsa Subramaniam understands and hopes to share its significance. Born and raised in Lawrence, Kan., her family originally is from Chennai, India, where the majority of her extended family still lives.

“I enjoy very close ties to my Indian heritage,” she explained. “And I feel IEW is a great opportunity for Notre Dame students to learn about and participate in cultures such as mine from around the world. It provides a forum in which to enhance cross-cultural competency and understanding in a way that is fun and all-inclusive.”

If you can’t make it to any of the week’s major events, such as the “Peace Through Commerce” conference sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, but you would like to observe the occasion, here’s a less time-consuming option — consume international cuisines. Throughout the week, Notre Dame Food Services will offer special dishes such as Bulgarian shopska salad, Mexican flan, Argentina potato pie, aloo bonda (potato fritter) from India, and Malaysian coconut chicken breast, in the University’s dining halls.

Or, simply go shopping. Ten Thousand Villages, which supports the work of tens of thousands of artisans in more than 30 developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, will provide handcrafted gifts for sale Monday to Thursday in the Dooley Room of the LaFortune Student Center and Friday in the atrium of Mendoza, with profits to be returned to the artisans.

Contact: Julia Douthwaite, assistant provost for international studies,574-631-5203,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on November 09, 2006.