International Education Week at Appalachian to present five days of events beginning Nov. 14; three new workshops among the many attractions

Ever since she was in middle school, Talley Breedlove has wanted to study abroad. During her junior year at Appalachian State University, she did just that.

In 2015, she spent the fall semester in Beijing, China, and in 2016, she spent the spring semester in Mannheim, Germany. She loved her time away from Boone and got a lot out of it.

In China, for example, where she studied Mandarin in addition to Chinese culture and government at Beijing International Studies University, she made lots of friends and had some amazing experiences, such as eating great food and visiting Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the historical parts of Beijing.

“I was also pushed to develop and improve skills such as independence, flexibility and problem-solving,” said Breedlove, a global studies major from Overland Park, Kansas, who minors in Chinese and German.

“Studying abroad in China and Germany allowed me to better understand those cultures and myself. I was able to gain a whole new appreciation for the cultures I was immersed in.”

Breedlove’s stint overseas underscores a remarkable Appalachian success story: The Institute of International Education’s 2016 “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,” which was released Nov. 14, ranks Appalachian third nationally among the top 40 master’s degree-granting institutions for the total number of students who studied abroad for credit in 2014-15, and third nationally for the number of students who participated in short-term programs for academic credit. The Office of International Education and Development (OIED), which arranges study- and work-abroad programs for Appalachian students, is aiming to build on this success and its next International Education Week (IEW) should bear this out.

“We are really focusing on student engagement this year and trying to inspire students to explore the many ways they can have a transformational global experience, either abroad or here on campus,” said Lindsay Pepper, program coordinator of OIED’s International Student and Scholar Services and Outreach.

“Whether it’s a study-abroad experience during college, a work or volunteer experience after college, or engaging with the diverse international population we have right here on campus, we want to spread the message that everyone at Appalachian can have a global experience, that this should be a fundamental part of every student’s education.”

Appalachian’s 2016 International Education Week Photo Contest

What a shot! As part of International Education Week, the Office of International Education and Development sponsored a photo contest for students to portray their global learning experiences.

Organizers of IEW want students to consider as many opportunities as possible – so much so that they are offering the first 30 people who attend five or more events a free IEW T-shirt. The marketing of IEW also has been enhanced, thanks to the efforts of students Murilo Artese and Brendan Harris.

Artese, a sophomore from Brazil, is majoring in communications, electronic media/broadcasting. Harris, who lives in Boone, holds a B.A. in French studies from Appalachian and is scheduled to earn a master’s degree in higher education leadership this May.

This year’s IEW presentations aim to stimulate interest in global experiences with everything from cultural presentations to workshops on several topics that haven’t been covered at IEW in the past. In addition, Dr. Fabio Franchino, a professor of political science at the University of Milan, will lecture Nov. 16 on the challenges faced by the Eurozone. And on Nov. 15, a panel of Appalachian professors from abroad will discuss how healthcare is organized and delivered in each of their countries.

On Nov. 14, international students at Appalachian will talk about their experiences here during a “Global Perspectives” panel from 7:30-9 p.m. in Room 201 (Price Lake) of Plemmons Student Union, while a “Global Symposium” on Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in various rooms of Plemmons Student Union will afford Appalachian students, faculty and staff opportunities to make presentations on a variety of global subjects.

As has been the case in past years, Appalachian faculty who direct programs abroad will “pitch” them to students. This year’s pitching will occur at tables during the “Education Abroad Fair” on Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 137 (Grandfather Mountain) of Plemmons Student Union. Some examples:

  • Dr. Jean-François Fournier, an assistant professor of French, will discuss “Paris, Tales of A City,” a course to be offered next May in Paris. The course’s goal will be illuminating the cultural and intellectual history of Paris in ways that explain how it acquired its mythic status in the popular imagination and ended up attracting scores of immigrants and tourists during the last century.
  • Dr. Nina-Jo Moore, a professor of communication and the assistant chair of Appalachian’s Department of Communication, will pitch a summer trip to Poland, where students will learn the fundamentals of intercultural communication while they soak in the vast historical culture of Poland.
  • Dr. Martin Meznar, the associate dean for international programs and assessment in Appalachian’s Walker College of Business, will pitch numerous programs taking place in various countries between spring break and summer. One highlight this year is the chance to attend lectures at the University of Havana on such topics as Cuba’s economy and healthcare system as well as the history of U.S.-Cuban relations.

Pepper plugged workshops on three new topics: “Cultural Appropriation”; “How to Work and Volunteer Abroad After Graduation”; and “Fulbright Student Awards: Why and How to Apply.” “Cultural Appropriation” will take place at noon Nov. 14, while the other workshops are scheduled for Nov. 17, all in various rooms of Plemmons Student Union.

“These workshops are meant to give students tools to be culturally sensitive and globally aware, as well as inspire creativity when thinking about having their own international experiences,” Pepper said.

Lindy Wagner, associate director of multicultural student development, will lead the workshop on cultural appropriation.

“Many people enjoy understanding cultures from around the world,” she said. “Often, that means wanting to be part of traditions and celebrations. Because of this curiosity and desire to celebrate cultures, it is imperative that individuals understand the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation. Once someone understands the difference, it is much easier to make decisions on how best to celebrate and acknowledge stories, artifacts, customs and traditions of a culture.”

As for the workshop on the Fulbright awards, these are named for J. William Fulbright, the late United States senator from Arkansas who spearheaded efforts to establish the flagship international exchange program of the U.S. government in 1946.

During the 2015-16 academic year, Appalachian was named a “top producer” of U.S. Fulbright scholars and students in the “master’s institutions” category by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. (The term “master’s institutions” refers to universities that confer master’s degrees, not doctorates.)

This past October, eight Appalachian students submitted applications to the Fulbright program, hoping to win English Teaching Assistant, Research or Study awards. Finalists will be announced in January 2017 for programs to begin in August 2017.

Dr. Maria Anastasiou, OIED’s executive director, would like even more students to apply. She said the Fulbright workshop is aimed at all students to help them learn about the program’s opportunities.

“Students receive an excellent education at Appalachian and are very deserving of Fulbright awards, but may not know about them or think they cannot be successful in getting them,” she said. “I’m offering the workshop to show them otherwise.”

IEW at Appalachian, then, is a primary first step in a process that could result in a student pursuing a program abroad – in which case they can count on further assistance from OIED, be it with filling out applications, acquiring tools to get the most out of living abroad or keeping up with registration and other obligations when they return.

“OIED supported and helped me through the entire process,” Breedlove said.

  • Appalachian’s 2016 International Education Week Photo Contest

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      “Sunset on Bolivia’s Isla del Sol. This tiny port on the northern end of the island, a place of pure peace for watching the night fall, is the resting place of the busy boats that spend their days toting visitors to and from the mainland.” – Sunni Ryan, a senior global studies and French major from Raleigh, North Carolina

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      “Studying abroad in Peru opened my eyes to the wonders of the world that go unseen by so many people every day. Trekking cross country through the Andes was an unforgettable adventure that I wish everyone could experience, especially those close to me. It's a whole new world out there.” – Connor Jones, a junior geography and planning major from Goldsboro, North Carolina

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      “Landmarks of Old Town Square in Prague, Czechia, at night: The Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn. On the hour, the clock’s statues come alive as the bell chimes to signify the time for all of Old Town.” – Christina Donovan, a senior theater arts-design/technology major from Cary, North Carolina

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      “This photo is of Asungate in the Cordillera Vilcanota Mountains of the Andes. The faculty-led study abroad trip I went on traveled here learning about the impacts of global climate change. The grandeur, power and water resources of these mountains is something I wish everyone could be there to see.” – Zachary Shadomy, a senior geography-geographic information systems (GIS) major from Pinehurst, North Carolina

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      “The theme of ‘wish you were here’ plays into this photograph because of the postcard-like composition of the photo. This composition is positive constructed by subject and how well she fuses with the calm, relaxing colors.” – Emily Bradley, a senior communication-advertising major from Asheville, North Carolina

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      “While in the Novgorod region of Russia, we visited the Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, ‘Vitoslavlitsy.’ Our guide was dressed in traditional Russian clothing and introduced our group to historical Russian games. The one pictured is ‘Bunnock,’ Game of Bones. The photograph documents a rare glimpse into Russian culture.” – Monica Gudger, a graduate student in the Master of School Administration program from Stanley, North Carolina

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      “This picture was taken on the island in the middle of Watauga Lake. We had to cross the lake with paddle-boards carefully because I had to carry my camera, tripod and lenses. We made a fire and camp for the night. To provide maximum light to the sensor, I had to make a 30-second picture and to be able to see the MilkyWay. The model, Gabe, stayed as steady as possible during the time.” – Kevin Larat, a graduate student in international management and marketing at Angers University in France

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      “The Salar de Atacama is the third largest salt flat in the world. I’m constantly fascinated by the nature and diverse landscapes found in Chile. My photo was taken in Los Flamencos National Reserve. It features a flamingo flying over the salt flats with a volcano in the background.” – Guadalupe Rosales, a junior international business and Spanish major from Hays, North Carolina

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      “I heard echoing music and laughter from behind me as I explored the streets of Brugge. I turned around to find these men dressed in pink suits singing and putting smiles on everyone’s faces as they drove down the cobblestoned streets.” – Addison Wemyss, a senior double majoring in commercial photography and communication-public relations from Mooresville, North Carolina

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      “Traditional Appalachian culture centers around quality food and small-town relationships of a close-knit community. Boone, North Carolina: a place where everyone knows everyone, a town filled with those who rely on each other like family.” – Lindsay Froman, a junior marketing major with a minor in commercial photography from Mars Hill, North Carolina

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    What a shot! As part of International Education Week, the Office of International Education and Development sponsored a photo contest for students to portray their global learning experiences. The theme was “Wish You Were Here.” Images were to capture a moment and/or place in Boone or abroad that students wished they could share with their closest friends and family.

    Categories were:

    • Private or Public Spaces
    • Transportation and Mobility
    • Landmarks
    • Landscapes and Nature
    • Ceremony, Celebration, and Culture

    Winners’ work is on display in the Plemmons Student Union, second floor, during International Education Week Nov. 14-18, 2016.

    Here are the finalists.