International Education Week 2018!
International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education that encourages universities to celebrate the culture of their students, share their experiences, and engage in activities to boost a greater global environment. This year, International Education Week (IEW) started on November 12th and ended on November 16th, 2018. Global UCF, in partnership with UCF Global, hosted a series of events to celebrate the diversity of our students, learn about different countries, and raise cultural awareness.
The week began with the 11th annual International Breakfast on November 13th, 2018 at the Student Union Pegasus Ballroom. The breakfast featured a panel discussion from guest speakers such as Ambassador Harriet L. Elam-Thomas and Ambassador Karim Haggag who addressed the importance of globalization, cultural proximity and immigration in today’s society. The breakfast was followed by the “Celebrate Mexico” exposition, an event sponsored by the Consulate of Mexico in Orlando in which part of Mexico’s rich culture was exhibited – cuisine, history, art, and music. The event also included tastings of El Aguacate one of the most commercial and internationally recognized product in Mexico’s cuisine, as well as an outstanding performance by a local Mexican band, Las Aztecas Mariachi.
On Wednesday, November 14th, Global UCF hosted “Come Taste the World” in partnership with UCF Dining Services. During this event, students were invited to wear traditional clothing from their home countries and educate their peers on their favorite home-dishes. Over 11 countries were represented along with a curated playlist from each country by the Knights of the Turntables, aiming to bring cultural awareness to the UCF campus. The participating countries were India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Venezuela, and Turkey. Each country had its own respective station so “visitors” could stop by to collect stamps in a visa-like fashion. A UCF Social Media Ambassador asked one of our students from India, Niyati Patel, “what traditional dish completes your Thanksgiving Dinner?” to which Niyati answered the samosa, a small pocket fried pastry stuffed with mashed potatoes and spices. Students were given the opportunity to opt in for a raffle to win a prize for successfully reciting all of the international countries’ flags listed on a spinning wheel.
International Education Week continued with the United Arab Emirates students’ celebration of the Year of Zayed. 2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of Sheik Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. On Friday, November 16th, Emirati students celebrated the life and leadership of Sheik Zayed through a series of activities including tastings of their traditional cuisines, music by a live DJ, art and virtual reality stations, customized filters from Snapchat and a live painting performance by Global UCF’s Marketing Coordinator, Joseph Fanfan. When asked how does it make one feel to see cultural representation on campus? Noora Dawood stated, “One of the things I struggled with during my first semester here was being the only Emirati at UCF. At times, it felt lonely during our cultural and religious holidays. Now with a growing community of Middle Eastern students, UCF feels a lot like home, especially during the holidays. Being able to share my culture with the UCF community gives me a sense of pride in my identity and background. It helps me stay connected with my roots while still embracing other cultures and ideas.”
To wrap up International Education Week, the Omani Orlando Student Association hosted a celebration of the 48th Omani National day in honor of the years Oman was governed by Qaboos Bin Said. Sultan Al-Balushi, a Global UCF alumnus described the celebration as a cultural tradition that includes dances, a display of Oman’s clothing and famous dishes. In his own words, Sultan stated that the event provided him with the opportunity to share his culture with his collegiate peers, inform them about famous places in Oman, and encourage them to experience the beautiful nature and peaceful weather of Oman.
Global UCF strives to be at the forefront of the plethora of events happening on campus during International Education Week each year, in an effort to help promote and enhance students’ experiences. If you are interested in learning more about different cultures, stay alert for upcoming events that Global UCF will host, and keep with us on our social media channels. Join us next year for another exciting International Education Week!