From November 13–17, International Education Week (IEW) is recognized throughout the world. It is an opportunity for students and educators to celebrate the benefits of international education and global exchanges. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, International Education Week promotes the importance of global education at schools, colleges, universities and libraries.
If you are an academic librarian, you may probably have noticed a growing number of international students studying at your university or your students interested in studying abroad. Today, many students come to the United States from India, China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Have you thought about ways to foster engagement with these student groups? You can promote IEW through a number of activities to encourage your students to think about these global opportunities.
At Fresno State, our library will host a poster session presented by international students, students who have participated in study abroad programs, and faculty conducting research abroad. In addition, we will have an exhibit showcasing various resources and objects covering international education. Our campus partners will also be organizing a series of talks by international students and an international film screening for the community.
One of the most popular events that the library co-promotes is the “International Coffee Hour” series where international students share their background and country’s information in a public talk. This occurs every Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m., and the library partners with this weekly program by providing the space and refreshments. Opened to the community, the program has invited students from Oman to Malaysia to Spain to present their cultural experiences. Some classes encourage students to attend these presentations to learn more about countries abroad. The library also sets up a table to promote various information resources such as books, maps, movies, and reference materials on the country.
You may want to promote IEW through a number of these collaborative activities. You can also consider offering open research workshops using Credo as a supplement. For example, you can demonstrate various reference sources on specific countries Credo offers. From Japan to Brazil, Credo provides useful content such as maps, data and background information for those interested in visiting these countries. In addition, you can have students look up the biographical information of important leaders and activists who promote international education such as Malala Yousafzai or Ban Ki-Moon. Credo also offers updated information on study abroad and international education trends.
These efforts strengthen the library’s commitment to foster diversity, inclusivity and global awareness in the campus community. As International Education Week is an annual celebration during the month of November, start considering your IEW programs for the next year, if not for this year, and seeking collaboration with student groups and academic departments to bring a welcoming global environment for all.
About the Authors
Raymond Pun (he/him/his) is an academic/school librarian in the Bay Area, CA. Ray has written and published extensively in the library and information science field. He co-edited books including The First Year Experience Cookbook (ACRL Publications, 2017) and The Sustainable Library’s Cookbook (ACRL Publications, 2019). You can find him on Twitter @raypun101.
Hiromi Kubo is a Business and Economics Librarian at California State University, Fresno. She received her master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She served as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Arkansas State University from 2004 until 2008. She offered information literacy courses and workshops in the areas of company and industry research, marketing, consumer behavior, market research, and economic data both at Arkansas State and Fresno State. Kubo is a member of the American Library Association (ALA) Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Business and Finance Division. She was recognized with the SLA Achievement in Academic Business Librarianship Award in 2016.