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International Education Week kicks off with Global Expo

Exploring what it means to be a global university

<p>The Global Expo featured performances, interactive booths, presentations and tea and food sampling. </p>

The Global Expo featured performances, interactive booths, presentations and tea and food sampling. 

Saturday marked the start of International Education Week, a national initiative the State Department and the Department of Education first implemented in 2000. The week was first recognized at the University three years ago, and is presented annually to explore what makes the University a global institution.

The events kicked off Saturday at the Global Expo and International Tea Festival in the Newcomb Ballroom — the two events combined this year to create a more comprehensive cultural experience.

The Global Expo offered students the opportunity to explore different cultures in the University community, while students at the International Tea Festival, hosted by Global Student Council sampled teas from various parts of the world.

“[Tasting the culture is] a really weird phrase, but that’s how we like to think about it because you don’t really have access to that every day,” fourth-year College student Kevin Postigo said. “If you are eating dining hall food, most of the selection you have is pizza, burgers, salad [and a] drink.”

In addition to food from various cultures, the Expo featured performances, interactive booths and presentations.

“I think students get so bogged down in the matters of U.Va. or [in] our CIOs and our work that we forget about how we are set in a more global context,” said Marc Guzman, co-leader of the International Education Week planning committee and Asian/Pacific American program coordinator. “This week allows us to preview the different sorts of things we can be involving ourselves in globally while staying on Grounds.”

Several events will be presented throughout the week, including a language fair, a travel photography workshop, panels about service opportunities abroad, language house open houses and a global Grounds scavenger hunt.

“Becoming a global university is a huge priority now for [University] President [Teresa] Sullivan and a number of people on Grounds,” said Erica Goldfarb, International Studies Office staff member and a co-leader of the International Education Week planning committee.

Representatives from the State Department will be on Grounds Tuesday and Wednesday hosting a passport drive to accept the applications from students, faculty and staff who want to apply for or renew their passport.

“I think [the week] is important because the [cultural] diversity at U.Va. has declined each and every year since I have been here,” Postigo said. “There’s more international students, but at the same time the retention is a lot lower.”

A Thanksgiving Reception for international students who cannot go home for the holiday will round out the week.

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