As the soulful sounds of African drumming echoed through the Campus Center on Monday night, Ithaca College kicked off its own celebration of International Education Week 2011.
The college joins more than 100 countries around the world in this 11-year-old joint initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, aimed at embracing international culture.
This week will see a range of events organized by the Ithaca College International Club, such as an international dinner open to all students, a documentary screening and the ‘One World’ concert.
Diana Dimitrova, director of international student services, said she finds it rewarding to observe how international experiences can be beneficial to students in the classroom environment.
“Everybody should be celebrating International Education Week because we are all part of the world,” Dimitrova said.
While International Education Week is originally celebrated the week before Thanksgiving, Dimitrova said the college will celebrate it this week because students generally have less schoolwork this week as opposed to before a break.
Freshman Steven Lartey, public relations chair of the International Club, said students need to step out of their comfort zones and start asking more questions about cultures of the world.
“People are starting to be more and more aware that the world is getting flatter,” Lartey said. “However, there needs to be more awareness about international issues. People need to be more willing to find out, more willing to go out of the Ithaca bubble and the general American bubble.”
John Rawlins, assistant director for the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, said the college successfully exposes students to different aspects of the world through study abroad options and international clubs.
“It’s not about just working in America and living in America — they think everything is contained here,” Rawlins said. “But we live in such a global society where you’re going to have to be able to work with people from different backgrounds and different cultures and understand the differences and respect them, to be very successful and to be a good citizen of the world.”
There are 147 combined undergraduate and graduate international students at the college who represent 69 countries, according to the Office of Institutional Research. International students form 2.2 percent of the student population, according to Institutional Research.
Senior Asuka Suzuki, vice president of the International Club, said the college’s small number of international students does not mean insufficient diversity on campus.
“If you look into that international community, there is so much diversity in that small group,” Suzuki said.
The events for International Education Week kicked off Monday with an African drumming circle in IC Square. The week’s festivities will conclude Friday with the One World Concert, which combines arts, dance and music to represent cultures across the world and is one of the most popular events of the week.
The club will screen “Last train home,” a Chinese documentary film that follows the trials of Chinese migrant workers, at 7 p.m. tonight in Textor 102.