International Education Week at SPSCC

The Annual International Education Week, Nov. 12 through 14, highlighted new Study Abroad programs, a panel discussion from International Students, and other cultural enlightenment for students and staff at SPSCC.

Mindy Jones, the program manager for the school’s International Students department, said this year’s International Education Week served over 150 students in the first two days.

Jones said the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs puts on an International Education Week every year in U.S. Embassies around the world. Many colleges are highly recommended, but not mandated, to also inform their school members of the importance of cultural awareness.

The three days of International Education Week held different activities in the Student Union Building each day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Each of the three days included a Study Abroad Table to promote the program in our school’s International Department.

Patrick Chapman, SPSCC anthropology professor, advocated the Study Abroad programs for International Education Week because he wanted to show students what these travel experiences can offer.

Going overseas should be available to everybody, said Chapman. He hoped he could inform more people about the different options in the Study Abroad program. There are affordable options and new scholarships and grants which will soon be available for trips, he said.

Money was raised straight from faculty members’ pockets for a new study abroad grant, said Chapman. There are about four $500 grants. These are for the short-term trips which cost about $1500 to $2000, he said.
The cost of the short-term study abroad trip is “comparable to buying one Starbucks drink each day for a year,” said Chapman.

Chapman developed the short-term study abroad trips in 2010. These trips last about three to four weeks and can be a better alternative for some students because they are less expensive and more flexible for schedules than the offered long-term trips. The longer study abroad trips run about one whole quarter, said Chapman.

There are 15 different locations to study abroad through SPSCC including South Africa, Prague, Japan, Scotland and New Zealand.

The short-term trips include only SPSCC students, while the quarter long trips include students from other colleges around the state.

Sherrie Buendel, Program Coordinator for International Studies, said there is a new scholarship coming this March funded by the SPSCC College Foundation. This $1500 scholarship can only be used for the quarter long study abroad experience.

SPSCC’s International Department not only offers Study Abroad programs but also opportunities to work, volunteer, or intern abroad.These are all great opportunities to gain valuable experience that are looked well upon by employers, said Buendel.

Buendel said 10 years ago the school only had about three study abroad programs a year. Now the school offers over 10 programs for this upcoming year.

It is better to do study abroad programs through community colleges than at a four year university because they are much cheaper, said Buendel. Community college study abroad programs typically send their own instructors on the trips, let students register for them right on campus, and the program experience will go right on the student’s transcripts.

Chapman said there are studies which show people with the more exposure to other cultures and diversity tend to be more open-minded and accepting of others. Many students come back from these trips realizing how as Americans, our actions really do affect everybody, we are all interconnected, he said.

SPSCC student Riley Maddox was in line to get some worldly cuisines during International Education Week, said he has always been interested in different cultures. Maddox said he felt this was an important event to hold at our school because we have so many international students here.

On Nov. 12 and 14 there were teachings of the different flags of the world, educational games, and foods from around the world offered for students and staff.

An International Student Panel consisting of three students from Honduras, Macau, and Vietnam talked about their experiences abroad on Nov.13.