MILLEDGEVILLE — With around 7,000 students enrolled at Georgia College last academic year, more than 30 countries across the globe were represented amongst the nearly 8 percent of the total student population.
The current 70 members of the Georgia College International Club are celebrating its diversity this week during International Week.
“The International Club has a very long tradition on campus as it was well established when I came here 15 years ago. It’s a student organization and social club open to all students, not just international students, but including Americans,” said Libby Davis, associate director of the International Education Center. “The idea and goal is to share, appreciate and celebrate different cultures around the world. Students share their background with the campus community as well as the local community. International Week is a wonderful opportunity for people in the community to learn about the diversity we have on campus and learn first-hand about various corners of the world.”
Anshika Rimal, a third-year student from Nepal, said joining the International Club has “felt like home” since her first year. She is a biology major and serves as current president of the International Club.
“When international students come from different countries, it’s the [International Education Center] and the International Club that make it feel like home. Everyone is from different parts of the world and it’s a great way to make friends because you meet other people with the same orientation,” she said. “It really does feel like home because you go through the same culture shock and you can talk about how it’s affecting you with other people.”
To kick off International Week, graduate programs represented from around the world were highlighted at a graduate school fair Monday in the Magnolia Ballroom. The winners of the sixth annual International Photo Contest were also announced during a reception in the Library Atrium.
Students maximized their international experience by effectively highlighting their new found skills and knowledge in job search during a resume workshop Tuesday in the Arts and Sciences Auditorium. Along with staff from the Georgia College Career Center and International Studies Abroad, the International Education Center helped students better articulate their cross-cultural competencies.
Representatives from various college groups will set up tables on front campus to provide information to faculty and students about pursuing opportunities abroad from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Parks Hall and Atkinson Hall porches. Students and faculty who previously experienced an internship abroad will also discuss the merits and challenges of interning overseas at 2 p.m. in the Arts and Sciences Auditorium, room 336.
As a free and open community event, the most celebrated International Day is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday on front campus.
“This is the highlight of our International Week at Georgia College. International Club members will staff various country tables and show off country exhibits, photos, clothing, and arts and crafts. The community can meet students and learn where they’re from. Some students may have different activities at their tables. The Chinese students will do calligraphy of people’s names; Indian students will do henna painting; and Japanese students will do origami,” Davis said. “It’s a great event for kids and adults to have fun and learn about different cultures. Countries represented include Sweden, Libya, Columbia, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Russia, Zimbabwe and more.”
In addition to displayed exhibits, a traditional flag parade will make its way around campus starting at 12:15 p.m. Various students and student groups will also provide live entertainment starting at 12:30 p.m., including the salsa club and swing club. Incase of inclement weather, the celebration will move across the street to the Student Activity Center in the Magnolia Ballroom.
A native of Guatemala, Helni Roblero began his freshman year at Georgia College in 2007 to earn a double major in computer science and psychology. Roblero served as the International Club president last year and he continues enjoying creating friends from around the world as a current member.
“A friend told me about the club so I joined. I really enjoyed the diversity,” he said. “This year, because of my classes, I can’t participate as much [on International Day], but two years ago I was the MC. [International Day] is an alternative and cheaper way of traveling to another country. Here you can go and get a glimpse of various cultures at once.”
International Week will conclude with a viewing of the Chilean film “Machuca” as part of the First Friday Foreign Film Series. The showing is slated at 7 p.m. Friday in the Arts and Sciences Auditorium.
“It’s about celebrating diversity on campus, and it’s for Milledgeville, not just Georgia College,” Rimal said. “The community has been really supportive of us, including the Civic Woman’s Club and the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.”
Tickets will go on sale in early February next year for the International Club’s ever-popular International Dinner, scheduled March 2.
For more information about the International Week events and activities, call (478) 445-4789, or visit www.gcsu.edu/international/internationalweek for the full schedule.
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