Special week puts WKU’s global reach in spotlight

By CHUCK MASON, The Daily News, cmason@bgdailynews.com

The Peruvian Amazon and the Kasigau region of Kenya are classrooms, too.

Making college students aware of the larger world around them is the focus of International Reach Week, Sept. 24-29, at Western Kentucky University.

“Sometimes you have to do a lot to get the students’ attention,” said Andrea Chaney, coordinator of the Office of International Programs at WKU. “This sets the tone.”

Many WKU students choose to study abroad. For example, faculty-led study abroad opportunities this winter term are scheduled for Peru, Ecuador, Kenya, Mexico and Cuba. Chaney said that in 2011-12, 543 WKU students participated in programs abroad. WKU has made a point of emphasizing its world view. The university’s website and many publications note, “WKU: A Leading American University with International Reach.”

Chaney said the university has many activities that speak to that international mission. International Reach Week has a goal of raising the level of awareness to create a focus on those programs and activities. “Students become globally aware,” she said.

There has been a movement across many levels of higher education in America to concentrate on international outreach.

On Sept. 26, one of the activities is the Study Abroad Fair being held at the Mass Media and Technology Hall lobby from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There students will find out about study abroad opportunities, Chaney said.

The Peruvian Amazon course will take place in Iquitos and Madra Selva Biological Station in Peru, according to information from the WKU Study-Away program. In Kenya, there will be a medical services learning opportunity offered through a partnership between Kentucky physicians and the Taveta District Health Office, a release from the university notes. “Through this course, pre-med students will conduct rural medical clinics in the impoverished villages of the Kasigau region of Kenya to increase health promotion and disease prevention,” the release said.

Students will also have the opportunity to travel to Ecuador from Jan. 5-18 and study the “uniqueness of the Galapagos and Amazonian regions and its effect on people, social issues and governmental policies,” the release said.

Chaney said International Reach Week activities are geared for students, faculty and the community. For example, the offerings for students include a workshop from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Gary Ransdell Hall, Room 2005, by Andrea Ford, International Student and Scholar Services, geared for international students and scholars. The workshop is designed to address concerns about returning home after an extended stay for study or work in the United States.

For WKU faculty members, a brown bag lunch will be from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday at Helm Library, Room 100, to talk about what WKU is calling “The International Year of Country.” Chaney said the country to be concentrated upon will be announced at the luncheon. The faculty is also invited to a WKU Confucius Institute reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at Helm Library, Room 100. Faculty members will be treated to a short lesson on chopsticks and listen to music from the WKU Chinese Music Club.

Several activities are scheduled for the community:

•Sept. 24-29, African Folk Art and Kentuckians Travel Art Exhibit, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kentucky Museum.

•Sept. 25, “The Causes and Aftermath of Bosnian War and Genocide of 1992-1995,” 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Grise Hall, Room 138, by Jerry Daday of the WKU Sociology Department and Sakiba Dzelil of the WKU Study Abroad and Global Learning Department. The film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” will be shown.

•Sept. 27, “Immigration Stories: Short Films and Panel Discussion on Immigration to the U.S.,” 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Cherry Hall, Room 125, presented by the WKU History Department.

•Sept. 28, a showing of the film “A Mighty Heart,” followed by discussion, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Tate Page Hall, Room 240, presented by John Baker, WKU School of Leadership Studies. The film is about Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and killed while reporting stories from a war zone.

— For more information on WKU International Reach Week, go to www.wku.edu/oip/irw.php.

(Source: Bowling Green Daily News, Sep 19, 2012)

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