Events Highlight Global Outlook
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
With food and film and fellowship, ECU held its first-ever International Education Week Nov. 12 through Nov. 17.
Brandy Dudley and William Mallette, of ECU’s Office of International Affairs, coordinated more than a dozen events during the week as a way to generate awareness about ECU’s international population and to encourage more students and faculty to travel abroad.
“It’s important, from an international affairs perspective, to give people in eastern North Carolina an opportunity to come and taste Indian food, or see a film from Africa,” Mallette said.
The week began with a luncheon at the International House, and continued with a Study Abroad Fair, a roundtable discussion on healthcare and diversity, a showcase of the dance and fashion of Africa and a Taste of India event.
In the past few years, the numbers of international students – about 200 – and faculty members – about 100 – have remained steady, but are growing, said Mallette. ECU students who are going abroad are increasing, too, on both year-round or semester exchanges, as well as summer study abroad trips with ECU faculty members. There were 147 students who went abroad last summer, and about 70 students are studying or plan to study overseas during the school semester. There are also 16 study abroad programs being planned by ECU faculty members for this summer. Registration is under way with the Division of Continuing Studies for the summer programs.
From ECU’s Global Classroom to the new Asian Studies program, some faculty members have received grants from the U.S. Departments of State and Education to internationalize educational curricula, both on campus and off. Sylvie Debevec Henning has two such grants, one for curriculum development for Asian Studies, along with colleague John Tucker, and another from the Institute for Study Abroad to send students to Eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia.
“We are very excited that ECU has made internationalizing the campus a priority,” Henning said.
As part of an outreach effort to local public school teachers, ECU’s Center for Economic Education and the College of Education, along with the Office of International Affairs, hosted a program Nov. 14. “The World is Shrinking – Know Your Neighbors” paired international students with ECU Teaching Fellows and exposed area teachers to international children’s literature.
Mallette said tying in the larger International Education Week effort was a good springboard to showcase ECU’s international diversity, as well as its opportunities and programs.
For example, films from Chile, South Africa, India and China were among those shown during the week. The film from Chile, “Gringuito,” was especially interesting, Mallette said, because students from both ECU and Chile viewed it in the Global Classroom simultaneously.
Another initiative was an open house for faculty and students interested in the Fulbright program. Approximately 26 faculty members have traveled to another country on a Fulbright, and efforts are underway to work with both students and faculty to continue to increase those numbers.