International week kicks off activities

The Florida A&M’s Office of International Education and Development is preparing to launch a campus wide  International Education Week of activities the week of Nov. 15-20.

The week was established in 2000 and is a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to promote global awareness and understanding and international affairs. It celebrates more than 100 countries worldwide and aims to prepare students to live and work in a global environment.

Karen Mitchell, coordinator of the study abroad program and a native of Guyana, South America, expressed what she would like to accomplish during the international week.

“I would like to use the international week as another forum to encourage students to study abroad and learn new culture,” Mitchell said. “It will give our students a dialogue with our international students.”

The international office plays a significant role in the lives of students and provides them with opportunities to successfully launch in the global market. One goal of the program is to enrich students with a cross-cultural perspective and language competency to be successful in not only the American job market, but in various countries as well.

Joseph Jones, interim director of international education and development, expressed what he hopes to accomplish with the week.

“One of my goals is to create a better understanding and cooperation between international and domestic students on our campus,” Jones said. “There is a rich culture that students are not taking the time to appreciate.”

Jones also said if students visit countries and learn new languages, they can network and build business opportunities.

“What I want to see in a nutshell, is the appreciation and awareness of the world around us,” Jones said.

According to Open Doors, a resource for more than a half million students that study abroad, in the 2007-2008 school year, close to 623, 805 international students from over 200 countries studied abroad. Jones hopes that the International Education Week at FAMU motivates students to be apart of that number by next year and heightens the community’s awareness for rich cultural diversity.

Jones said there are 46 different countries on the campus of FAMU and that includes students, faculty, staff and administrators and he wants everyone to be able to understand and respect these various cultures. He also hopes that by doing this, it makes students more conscious of what is out in the world beyond FAMU.

According to the OIED Web site, the program is designed to work with the faculty, staff, administrators and students to help develop their knowledge of different cultures. The goal of the international program is to make FAMU a leader in the international circle through international materials, activities, content, research, public service and teaching. It also seeks to prepare FAMU students to be leaders with a global appreciation.

The objectives that the program seeks to achieve are Education Abroad and Exchange Programs, International Students and Scholars Services, and International Education and Development. According to the OIED Web site, its values promote awareness of the interdependence of nations and peoples and the pursuit of a commitment to equity. One of OIED’s goals is to be a premier institution in the international arena.

Avis Simmonds, administrator assistant in the international office, is from the island of Saint Kitts in the Eastern Caribbean. Simmonds expressed how important international week is.

“International week is a great idea because education is the key to the students future,” Simmonds said. “I call it a passport to the future for anyone because a passport is a private document that no one uses. So once someone uses it, it is theirs and they can pass it on.”

Simmonds also shared a quote that is dear to her: “Teach me and I will learn. Show me the world and I will understand my fellow man. All of that is part of education and other cultures. You can live at peace.”

The OIED wants to use the international week to highlight 10 years of international engagement. This is the 10th year that FAMU sends students abroad as they move into a new era of introducing new courses in the foreign language department. Starting in spring 2010, through continued education, students will be able to take Mandarin Chinese, Standard Arabic and Portuguese courses.

“Teach me and I will learn,” Simmonds said. “Show me the world and I will understand my fellow man. All of that is part of education and other cultures. You can live at peace.”
physical therapy student from Miramar said she knew nothing about the school’s immunization clinic.

“No, I haven’t got the swine flu shot because it never came up,” Howzell said. “I didn’t know anything about it.”

Swine flu is more widespread now than it has ever been, and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In October, the Florida Department of Health spokesperson Susan Smith said the H1N1 death toll climbed to 131 in Florida.

Although not everyone has died after a battle with the deadly virus some of the infirmed said they felt sicker than ever while experiencing complications from the H1N1 flu virus.

Celeste Williams, a teacher at Gretchen Everhart School, had her first encounter with the virus in October and she described it as one of the most painful experiences of her life.

“You feel like something slung [you] on the ground and in the mud,” Williams said. “You have really bad headaches. You’re congested. Your head is doubly stopped up and your body is aching constantly with fever. I wouldn’t wish that on an ant.”

Williams said the getting the vaccine is worth avoiding the pain that comes along with the H1N1 virus.

“You can’t compare it… to anything,” Williams said. “Not even delivering a baby.”