Students posing during the Korean games event at the College Center. Submitted Photo.

Oscar Rosado

On the week of Nov. 15, International Education Week took place. The week is an annual event that is hosted by the U.S. Department of state, according to Shaun Marsh Ph.D. Program Coordinator/ESL Faculty International Initiatives Member, and International Student Services. 

“Colleges around the U.S., not just LCCC, host activities to celebrate international students and international education at their institutions,” said Marsh.

Planning for the event

According to Marsh, setting the entire event for the week took two and a half months.

Marsh as well as Professor, Spanish, English as a second language, and International Initiatives team member Sharon Van Houte, spoke to many departments on how they could get involved.

The initiative spoke with the library, and they have a display of international literature and photos of the international students. 

Though the International initiative took a huge hit from COVID-19, they pushed on to make everything possible, despite not having assistants. Marsh and Houte worked together with the many departments to make the events possible.

According to Marsh, LCCC has taken on the event ever since 2000, and typically, the campus would host an international dinner for international students, but this year due to COVID-19, that hasn’t been able to happen. 

Marsh said the Student Senate has also helped in the role of setting up events for international students with the support of the international initiative. He said last year, the initiative hosted a virtual International Week via Canvas and Google Classroom, so that international partners could contribute. This year the campus was able to do things in person. Many ideas were discussed about the event.

One of these ideas was hosting a set of traditional Korean games. This year made it especially enticing due to the popularity of Netflix’s Squid Game. The show is both popular in Korea and the United States, and Marsh said they had decided to borrow that theme, yet due to copyright reasons, they could not make it into a full blown event. They gave students opportunities to try out costumes, and masks, to give people a taste of what traditional Korean games are like. 

The Events

Everyday was essentially a different activity representing a different culture. 

On Tue, Nov. 16, there were the traditional Korean Games held at the College Center.

On Wed, Nov. 17, two speakers spoke on international topics at the College Center. 

The first was author Dr. Raquel Ortiz speaking of Puerto Rican children’s literature and the lack of representation of Latin people in literature. The second was English professor Kim Karshner who spoke about the many iterations of the famous tale of Cinderella throughout multiple cultures.

On Wed, Nov. 17 there was Dr. Raquel Ortiz speaking of Puerto Rican Children’s Literature at the College Center as well as English professor Kim Karshner speaking on Cinderella stories around the world.

On Thu, Nov. 18, the campus’ Boom Radio hosted an international karaoke and Marsh led a brown bag session of Global Careers, where students could learn and prepare for and find Global and international careers in connection with career services. 

According to Marsh, last week, the NEO LaunchNET hosted their annual hackathon, but with an international theme with the international themed food trucks on campus.

Special food items served

There were international week cafeteria specials all throughout the week as well.

The marketplace also served different meals everyday. On Mon, Nov. 15 they served Middle Eastern/African food such as beef kebabs with rice and hummus. On Tue Nov 16 they served Asian foods such as sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. On Wed, Nov. 17 they served Latin American foods such as Enchiladas with refried beans and red rice. On Thu, Nov. 18 they served European foods such as chicken paprikash over spaetzle.

At Starbucks they also held different items for each day. On Monday it was Chai tea, Tuesday, any hot brewed teas, Wednesday Horchata Frappuccinos, and Thursday, London Fog Lattes, all items ten percent off.

There was a display of international literature and international student experiences at LCCC in the Library.

Hoped to be taken away

“The most important thing that I hope people take with this event is students, we need to remember that we’re in a globally connected world. Whether there’s a pandemic or not. It’s important to remember we are still connected and everything we do is somehow globally connected, whether we recognize that or are conscious of that on a daily basis or not. People should still respect, celebrate and appreciate international cultures and recognize the connections we have with people around the world,” said Marsh.

He went on to add, “the pandemic has put a damper on international travel and studies, and so I want people to be optimistic and realize it’s not the end of international communication and travel. It’s going to continue once things get better, and I hope people come out of it optimistically and have this ongoing respect and interest in studying abroad and having international students on campus and recognizing the importance of our international students and their contributions at LCCC.”

“We’re hoping to expand this each year,” said Van Houte. “As we get our students back on campus hopefully we’ll get more students back here. The more international students we have the richer we can make it. Right now we are a bit restricted.”

“We really want people to see that we’re different but we’re the same. We can have our differences, but we can still share a lot of things in common. We all like to play games and have fun. There’s different kinds of games. We all like to listen to music, but it’s good to hear different styles, and just expose our students to the richness of the world. We can sometimes be so isolated and isolated here in our little bubble, in our little lives, we have these classes, and go to work and our own little bubble that we always don’t look through and see that outside that bubble there are other things and they can be interesting and enriching and so we are hoping that people will take a way a little bit of what’s outside their little bubble.” said Van Houte.