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U.Va. encourages students to think beyond borders in annual Global Week initiative

The Week is sponsored by the Provost’s office and includes 27 events hosted by various University departments and CIOs

This year’s Global Week aims to increase collaboration with student-lead organizations and clubs.
This year’s Global Week aims to increase collaboration with student-lead organizations and clubs.

The Office of the Provost’s Global Affairs unit hosted the University's annual Global Week Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, in collaboration with schools and organizations across Grounds. Students and other University members were invited to participate in 27 different events that spanned the weekend. 

The Week is a celebration of the United States Department of State and the United States Department of Education’s International Education Week, a joint initiative aimed at educating Americans about global cultures and encouraging international students to share their experiences.

U.Va. Global, an office dedicated to student and faculty international experiences hosted many unique Global Week events alongside partnering organizations, including passport drives, cultural events, student-lead activities, internship and study abroad information sessions and speakers such as Jacques Pitteloud, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States. 

Grace Medrano, international student and scholar program coordinator, said that Global Week is designed to highlight opportunities for students to not only travel and study internationally, but also engage with global cultures here on Grounds.

“We have a lot of opportunities both for people who are coming from abroad to study in the U.S., but also people who are domestic.” Medrano said. “We definitely have a lot of [opportunities and resources] that are focused globally, but we also have plenty of things that you can do if you're interested in learning more about different cultures here in Charlottesville.”

Although the Week is sponsored by the Global Affairs office, programming is largely determined by participating organizations and schools — including the Fralin Museum of Art, School of Nursing and the International Center and Career Center, among others. 

According to Timothy Troy, administrative coordinator for Global Affairs, this year’s Global Week will increase collaboration with student-lead organizations and clubs. This year Contracted Independent Organizations could apply for up to $200 in funding to lead their own proposed Global Week events. 

Troy said he hopes more student collaboration will increase student engagement and bring more awareness to the global opportunities and initiatives on Grounds. 

“I think it's just gaining as much interest as possible in these events to educate students on different opportunities and offices that they might not have even realized [are] available on Grounds,” Troy said. “That will carry out through the year.”

One group leading events for Global Week is Volunteers with International Students, Staff, & Scholars, a program run by the Center for American English Language & Culture. VISAS volunteers at the University are paired with International Students and English language learners interested in English language practice and cultural exchange through individual and group conversation. 

In collaboration with Global Week, VISAS hosted their Global Café conversation hour Wednesday, which included the chance for participants to try various international games and cuisines. Chris Suppa, VISAS Café coordinator and fourth-year College student, said that he has enjoyed leading programs for Global Week because it provides him with the chance to help educate the wider University community about international cultures and initiatives across Grounds. 

“I hope this year’s Global Week will encourage others to explore the global presence we have here,” Suppa said. “As for further initiatives, I hope we can eventually see more celebration of our global community here. It really is something special.”

Representatives ran events and raffles in the Global Week tent on the University Peabody Lawn and programming lasted through this Friday. Medrano hopes that by running a wide array of activities for students, Global Week will help direct students to resources and opportunities they would have not known about otherwise. 

“I hope that, you know, maybe [for] a student or two passing by the tent, this will spark some sort of maybe a step in their journey towards global engagement while they're at U.Va,” Medrano said.