International students at WMU to share their cultures

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University will highlight various countries and cultures during its annual observance of International Education Week, set for Saturday through Friday, Nov. 12-18.

The 2016 observance begins with the Japan Festival and ends with China Day. In between, numerous events, all free and open to the public, are being staged around the main campus to educate and entertain. Plus, the Indian Student Association has planned a related cultural event for Wednesday, Nov. 23.

This year, International Education Week includes events during which attendees can experience Caribbean life by way of the Dominican Republic, learn about how various refugees have made it to the United States and test their knowledge of the African continent. There also will be opportunities to sample other countries' traditional foods as well as enjoy their music and dances.

The week is being organized by WMU's International Student Activities office in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, with events hosted by University units and international student groups.

International Education Week

A joint initiative of the U.S. departments of State and Education, International Education Week is nationally being held Nov. 14-18 as an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

It is part of efforts to promote programs that not only prepare Americans for a global environment, but also attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stressed those ideas when remarking on the week's mission. "In the 21st century," Duncan has said, "a quality education is an international education."

Schedule of events

Saturday, Nov. 12

  • Japan Festival—4 to 9 p.m. in the Wesley Foundation, hosted by the Japan Club. Staged as a celebration for the local community as well as Japanese students, this event will be centered around the "Matsuri" custom that is held in each town in Japan. It will include traditional Japanese dishes, face painting, taiko drummers, martial art demonstrations and dancing.
  • Dominican Festival—7 p.m. in the Trimpe Building, hosted by the Dominican Student Organization. This event will allow attendees to experience Dominican culture through food and music. It will be as if the Caribbean had moved to WMU for a couple hours.

Sunday, Nov. 13

  • Malaysian and Indonesian Night—5 to 8 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center, hosted by the Indonesian Students Association and the Malaysian Students Association. This event's guests will witness a combined Malaysian-Indonesian traditional wedding and immerse themselves in the atmosphere, food and dances that combine the traditional and contemporary Malaysian and Indonesian cultures.
Photo of audience members.

Audience members enjoy a past event

Monday, Nov. 14 (and other days)

  • WMU study abroad information table—hosted by the study abroad office. Chat with study abroad alumni about overseas options available through WMU at tables staffed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bernhard Center Nov. 14, 16 and 18; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Brown Hall Nov. 15 and 17; and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Schneider Café Nov. 15, 16 and 17.
  • The Refugee Dialogues—6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Bernhard Center's Global Lounge, hosted by Refugee Outreach Kalamazoo at WMU. Refugees will put faces on the ongoing refugee crisis by recounting experiences. Food and live music also will be featured.

Wednesday, Nov. 16

  • Chinese Paper-Cutting Workshop—1 to 2:30 p.m. in 4025 Brown Hall, hosted by the Confucius Institute at WMU. Attendees can create their own paper-cutting work of art while immersing themselves in the unique culture surrounding this traditional art form, which is popular at festivals across China.

Thursday, Nov. 17

  • American Thanksgiving celebration—This event has been rescheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1.
  • Jeopardy with BASA—8:30 p.m. in 107 Bernhard Center, hosted by the Bronco African Students Association. This event features individuals playing a Jeopardy-like game to expand attendees' knowledge of Africa as a continent. Music and food will be used to showcase the diversity of this huge land area, which constitutes the world's second largest continent.

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Chinese Movie Workshop—2:30 to 4:40 p.m. in 2037 Brown Hall, hosted by the Confucius Institute at WMU. Enjoy Chinese culture, history and a fascinating martial art display in one of the most influential Chinese films in the United States: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
  • China Day—6 to 8 p.m. in the Wesley Foundation, hosted by the Chinese Association for Students and Scholars. This event will feature Chinese traditional clothes, food and movies.

Wednesday, Nov. 23

  • Legally Desi—6 to 9 p.m. in the Wesley Foundation, hosted by the Indian Student Association. This cultural event focuses on Indian cultures and traditions and features Indian dance and music followed by a traditional Indian dinner.

Thursday, Dec. 1

  • American Thanksgiving celebration—noon to 2 p.m. in Kanley Chapel, hosted by the International Student Fellowship. This American Thanksgiving Adventure will provide an overview of the history of Thanksgiving Day in America and feature a "somewhat" typical Thanksgiving dinner. This event was originally scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17.

For more news, arts and events, visit