A group of students from outside the U.S. was on a recent trip to Atlanta with others enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. At a visit to the World of Coca-Cola Museum, they watched a promotional video titled, “A Celebration of Happiness.”
Among other scenes, a returning soldier surprises his family at a basketball game, followed by hugs and shocked, happy laughter from loved ones.
“Some of the German students were saying, ‘Yeah, you would never see that in Germany,’” recalled Kelsey Simoni, senior coordinator of the UTC Center for Global Education.
“They don’t celebrate things like that in Germany,” she said of the depiction of emotion and sentiment. “It’s one of those cultural things.”
Being introduced to customs from other countries is one of the objectives of International Education Week, celebrated Monday, Nov. 14, through Friday, Nov. 18 with free events in Lupton Hall. See all of the University’s planned events here.
This semester, 158 international students from 47 countries attend UTC, including 75 undergraduates and 83 grad students. Simoni said countries represented include China, Sudan, Ukraine, India, the Netherlands, Iceland, Australia and Kuwait.
“My goal when planning anything, either for International Education Week or basically anything for the office over the year, is to have a cultural exchange between our international students and our domestic students,” she said.
“You don’t have to go out of the country to have those conversations and those experiences.”
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education, International Education Week is described by its organizers as an effort “to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.”
Exposure to traditions from cultures around the world enhances the educational experience for both international and American students, Simoni said.
“The cross-cultural exchange and learning about other cultures begins to open your eyes,” she said.
“I think the biggest thing that’s really good is you begin to go, ‘Huh?’ You kind of question, ‘Why do we do what we do?’ Meaning that, from each culture, somebody asks, ‘Why do you have this event? Why do you have this day?’”
International Education Week Events
Monday, Nov. 14
- International Education Week Kickoff Event: Noon-1:30 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
- Global Spotlight: Ukraine and Hutsulka: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
Tuesday, Nov. 15
- Fashion Around the World: Noon-1 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
- International Tea Time: 3-4:30 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
Wednesday, Nov. 16
- Dance Around the World: Line Dance, Ukrainian Folk and Belly Dance: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
- Global Spotlight: Japan, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby
Thursday, Nov. 17
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad Session, Noon-1 p.m., Lupton Hall Room 105
- Faculty and Staff Immigration Presentation, 1-2 p.m., Lupton Hall Room 105
- Passport to Culture, 2-4 p.m., Lupton Hall Lobby