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UMass Lowell International Education Week

Students Learn About New Cultures

By Venus Israni

As part of the 10th Annual International Education Week, celebrated Nov. 16-20 nationwide, the University hosted some culturally diverse interactive displays at McGauvran Student Center. Students had the chance to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education strives to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

The event at UMass Lowell included a “Postcards from Around the World” booth, in which students could have their pictures taken with a backdrop of a breathtaking wonder behind them. Displayed across a table were various postcards with students in silly poses and smiling faces, standing in front of marvels such as the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

The Indian Student Association (ISA) was also present at McGauvran, sharing club information with students, staff and faculty. The association has been engaged in a culturally rich semester, with events such as “India’s Independence Day Celebration,” the “Ice Breaker Party ’09,” and “Diwali Dhamaka” or “festival of lights.”

A partner of the ISA is the India Development & Relief Fund (IDRF), which co-sponsored the many events. The IDRF contributes to the growth and development of Indian communities in India and the United States. The group recently organized a successful food drive with Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities; as a result, many Lowell families received nonperishable foods donated by the Indian community.

The University hopes that exposing students to different cultures will prompt more to consider attending exchange programs abroad. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “exchanges are critical to developing mutual understanding and respect, building leadership abroad, fostering an appreciation for the U.S., and investing in the future relationship between Americans and people around the world.”