Special Programs

April 2010

UNCG Hosts 28th Annual International Festival by Sarah Fauser, Staff Writer for the Carolinian, UNCG's campus newspaper

The 28th annual International Festival kicked off at noon this past Saturday with plenty of people from UNCG and the community in attendance. Every year organizers from the International Programs Center and the International Student Association (ISA) put together the festival in order to celebrate the diversity of the world and the beauty that cultures have to offer. With more than 40 booths set up around the Fountain Area representing the “Global Village”, attendants of I-Fest could enjoy learning about each country while sampling food from around the world. 

Students serving traditional food at their country booth

Cynthia Marts, a senior at UNCG, said that enjoying the food at I-Fest is one of her favorite aspects of coming to the event. “The cinnamon tea from the Korea booth is my absolute favorite. I also love the couscous from Turkey, the Spanish fried plantains, and many of the Mexican dishes. I come every year because I love seeing all the booths and I’m hoping that if I stay in the Greensboro area after I graduate that I will be able to come back again next year,” she said. Other cultural booths included Colombia, Brazil, Japan, Bulgaria, Scotland, Russia, and Nigeria, just to name a few.

Saudi Arabian students in traditional clothing share information at their booth

Most of the countries offered free travel books so people passing by could learn more about that particular region. This year though, an extra booth was added to help raise money and awareness for a different cause. Organizers from ISA sold I-Fest t-shirts to help raise money for the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go straight to the victims who need it most to help rebuild homes and supply food and water. 

In addition to the wide variety of cultural booths, I-Fest also hosted different performances throughout the day. Attendees of the festival enjoyed performances of the traditional Ritmos Peruanos from Peru, traditional Nepal dance, Chinese folk dances, belly dancing by the Dance House of Daliana, a Turkish folk dance, traditional dance from India, a Japanese Earth Spirits Taiko, and the musical stylings of UNCG’s own Spartones. Performers from each country showed off several dance numbers wearing elaborate and traditional clothing. 

Dr. Penelope Pynes, Associate Provost for International Programs, credits the large turnout at the I-Fest to the beautiful weather. “In comparison to last year, the number of people here has increased greatly. The weather is perfect which definitely helps encourage people to venture outdoors for events like the International Festival,” she said. “The I-Fest not only helps to promote students from UNCG to study abroad, but for students in other countries to come here to UNCG for their studies. We [International Programs] work all year long with the Student Government Association to help raise money for this event.”

IPC staff in various traditional clothing to promote I-Fest

The International Festival is certainly a place where people who have maybe prior knowledge or none at all can come, relax, have a good time, and enjoy a wide variety of diverse cultures. 

Originally published Monday, April 19 on the Carolinian Online, reprinted, in part, here with permission from the writer and editor.

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March 2010

Iraq Education Initiative Program

On November 18, 2009, the International Programs Center (IPC) received confirmation from Dr. Zuhair Humadi, Executive Director of the Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED), that UNCG had been selected as one of the first 25 institutions in the United States to be a part of the pilot program of the Iraq Education Initiative. 

UNCG is excited to have been selected as one of the universities for this scholarship program, which was initiated to assist the students of Iraq to come to the United States to continue their studies, which are limited in their home country. The scholarships fully fund the students’ education.  
IPC first learned about this program in July 2009.  On July 25, the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the HCED hosted Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in Washington, DC to announce the launch of the Iraq Education Initiative. This scholarship program thoroughly screens the applicants and selects the "crème de la crème" – out of 6,543 applicants, only 800 have been chosen to apply to the universities.   

Many universities were contacted in the U.S. to see if they may be eligible to receive students. Some of the criteria are to have an English language center on campus, and to offer conditional admission to the Iraqi students. Since UNCG has the INTERLINK Language Center on campus, it qualified for the program. For several months, universities completed a variety of forms and questionnaires to be considered as one of the pilot institutions. The program’s plan is to send approximately 250 students to the U.S. (undergraduate, master's, and PhD candidates) in the first placement. IPC recently received an application for a graduate applicant, and this student has been recommended for admission. We hope to receive more applications soon. 

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February 2010

Lloyd International Honors Students Selected to Participate in World Model UN Conference by Katie Ostrowka

Next month, seven Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC) students will proudly represent UNCG as they participate in the Harvard World Model United Nations Conference in Taipei, Taiwan, March 14-18, 2010. UNCG is one of only two public universities in North Carolina to send delegates to the conference, which will give students the opportunity to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges along with more than 2,400 students from over 50 countries.

The selected students are excited about the upcoming conference. “Participating in the World Model UN is a great way for me to apply the research and diplomatic skills I’ve acquired though my classes,” says Kelsey Maher. “I’ve never travelled anywhere in Asia before, so I’m thrilled that the Honors College is giving me this opportunity.”

The UNCG Honors students who are currently preparing for the World Model UN conference are:

Brittany Atkinson (International Business and Economics),
Reem Disu (Communication Studies),
Molly Hagen (Geography),
Kelsey Maher (International & Global Studies),
Juan Miranda (Sociology),
Diana Phelps (Economics and Math),
Andrea Schronce (Economics and Political Science).                      

Dr. Jerry Pubantz, Director of LIHC, along with Ryan Radford, Honors Academic Advisor, will accompany the group to Taipei with financial assistance from IPC and the Kohler Fund for the five-day trip. Dr. Pubantz stated: “This is truly a unique opportunity for our students to be able to interact with their peers from across the globe in a setting much like the real United Nations. We have an outstanding delegation of students who are looking forward to the challenge this conference will offer them.”

The Model United Nations simulates the work of organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the African Union, with participants representing countries, organizations, or leaders in order to debate pressing international issues. This year, the UNCG delegation will represent the country of Burkina Faso. They will need to gather as much information about this small African country as they can, since they will be required to know something about its economy, politics and government, society, culture, and position on many international topics.

The International Programs Center wishes the delegation the best of luck as they travel to Taiwan!


Resident Advisors Experience Intercultural Simulation by Michael Elliott

As new international students arrived on campus during the week of January 12, 2010, International Programs Center (IPC) and Housing and Residence Life (HRL) staff collaborated to provide a unique professional development intercultural experience to 90 HRL Resident Advisors as part of their semi-annual training.  Yingjjie Ou, Master’s degree international student from China, Michael Elliott, Director of International Student and Scholar Services, and Chris Greggory, Assistant Director of HRL, along with other HRL staff, co-facilitated ACIREMA. 

ACIREMA (America spelled backwards) is an intercultural simulation designed to sensitize participants to the challenges international students encounter in their quest for an education in the U.S.  The intercultural simulation, used on campuses across the country, consists of three main stages: an introduction with intentionally limited directions, the main interactive exercise, and a debrief session in which participants share their experiences, have Q&A, and listen to perspectives of our own international students at UNCG. 

Each 1.5 hour session welcomed 30 resident advisors who interfaced with HRL staff.  While Dan Calhoun, Assistant Director of HRL and banker for the simulation, created the most road blocks for participants, Shakima Clency, Assistant Director of HRL, provided more guidance as the international student advisor to help participants through the experience.  Each co-facilitator representing offices and agencies  such as the Department of Homeland Security, the passport office, the consulate, and the admissions office played their respective characters well—so well, in fact, that resident advisor participants came away with a good understanding of the multiple stages international students go through to study in the U.S. 

Resident advisors had numerous questions following the exercise about the international admissions procedures, the TOEFL test (an English language proficiency exam), and the visa process, among others. The best part of ACIREMA is when participants ask and explore how to better assist international students on campus, especially as they first arrive to the UNCG and adjust to academics and culture. 

The day’s sessions ended with two resident advisors asking whether ACIREMA could be offered to their residents in their halls and several others requesting even more resources to aid international students toward their success at UNCG. Thanks to all who facilitated and participated in this round of ACIREMA!


New Program Established for Study Abroad Students

"Stateside" is a new UNCG student organization established for any student who has studied abroad on a UNCG program.

The idea behind "Stateside" came from students who had participated in re-entry workshop held for students after they had returned from a study abroad program. These workshops are designed to help students with some of the emotional, psychological, and cultural challenges of reintegrating into life back home in the US and UNCG. They also served as a way to get students engaged in various campus and community organizations, events, and opportunities that build on their life-changing experience of being abroad. While students definitely benefited from these workshops, they found that once they were over, they still felt that they wanted to continue with the discussions and camaraderie of other students that had been abroad and had similar experiences. In addition, many of these students were very eager to encourage other students to study abroad and also to become more involved with our international students at UNCG.

Stateside is designed to bring these students together throughout the school year to continue to share their experiences of being abroad and support each other through some of the challenges of being home. In addition, members will also organize and plan activities with an international focus that any UNCG student could participate in— hopefully with the added intention of encouraging other students to study abroad. Many activities and programming will seek to engage international students currently at UNCG and collaborate with the International Student Association (ISA).

For further information, please contact the UNCG staff representative for the organization, Tom Martinek, Jr (334-5404, tjmarti2@uncg.edu).

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December 2009

Another Successful International Education Week by Michael Elliott

On November 14, UNCG commenced International Education Week 2009 with a special kick off performance coordinated by the African Student Union (ASU) – Africa: Heart of the World – which attracted hundreds of guests to experience the culture, people, and issues of the African continent.  The President of the ASU, Abby Omoikhosen, commented that the second annual Africa Night was very exciting and extended her appreciation to all ASU members and supporting organizations for their efforts.

Throughout International Education Week, the International Student Association (ISA) set up tables in the Dining Hall and EUC, handing out country buttons and selling ‘Got Culture’ t-shirts and Semi-formal tickets, while the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs coordinated their traditional Study Abroad Photo Contest.  The contest featured the new International Student category this year and through hundreds of votes by faculty, staff, and students for best in each category, several winners were announced:

Congratulations to the winners, whose photos will be used in International Programs Center (IPC) publications, and to all who submitted photos this year.

People & Places: Holly Sienkiewicz, Livingstone, Gambia

Outrageous/Humorous: Jamie Holt, New Zealand

Landscape: Mary Keith, Oulu, Finland

International Student Images of the U.S: Viktoria Toth

Cityscape/Architecture: Walter Hecht

Another activity later in the week was a professional development workshop for Housing and Residence Life (HRL) coordinators and Resident Advisor staff.  ACIREMA, an intercultural simulation designed to sensitize participants to the challenges international students experience when preparing to study in the U.S., was co-facilitated by IPC and senior HRL staff, and included lunch, follow up discussions and presentations by UNCG international students Catherine Kiptinness and Yingjie OuMegan Delph, International House Coordinator and ACIREMA co-facilitator remarked after the workshop, “I've heard nothing but rave reviews from HRL staff saying how much they enjoyed the experience.”  Thank you HRL staff for your enthusiasm and efforts during the simulation and throughout the year working with UNCG international students.

HRL staff visit the International Student Office
Megan Delph issuing "visas"
Ajaya Francis evaluating "TOEFL scores"

The International Education Week finale event, Friday Fest, included a fashion show, singing, and dancing performed by members of the Indian Student Association, Saudi Student Club and the Korean Student Association.  Following their lively performances, student group members, dressed in traditional attire, staffed cultural booths and shared dance styles with each other as they enjoyed reception cake and refreshments with attendees.  Thanks to ISA president Blane Stanaland and I-Fellow Danielle Plesser for their contributions toward organizing Friday Fest and other International Education Week activities.

The International Programs Center would like to thank all who helped make this year’s International Education Week a success, including organizers, presenters and workshop participants.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

* If you participated in any International Education Week 2009 activities and would like to share any feedback about your experience, please email your comments and suggestions to isssga2@uncg.edu with subject heading “International Education Week 2009.”

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November 2009

International Education Week

The International Programs Center (IPC) is excited to announce UNCG’s celebration of International Education Week, November 14 through November 20, 2009. International Education Week (IEW) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is promoted all over the world. The IPC, in conjunction with other campus departments and organizations, has planned an engaging schedule of international and intercultural activities.

One of IEW’s longer standing traditions at UNCG is the annual Study Abroad Photo Contest. The photo exhibit, which showcases photo entries from students studying abroad, will open November 17 in the EUC commons area. This year, IPC has added an additional category for international students to submit their photos of life here in North Carolina or in their travels around the states. The campus community will be able to view the photos all week and are encouraged to vote for their favorites. 

Another popular activity is ACIREMA (America spelled backwards), an intercultural simulation exercise designed to introduce participants to the difficulties that international students encounter in their quest for an American education. This year, IPC has invited the staff of Housing and Residence Life to participate in ACIREMA as a professional development opportunity.

IPC will also provide two workshops for faculty. The first workshop is an information session for faculty interested in leading groups of students abroad on short-term programs. The workshop will provide faculty with some tools and resources they need to begin the process of setting up a program. We hope that veteran faculty members who have set up programs will be there to offer their advice and words of wisdom for first-time program directors. To get more information on faculty-led programs before the November 18 session, please visit our website's Faculty Program page.

The second workshop will be a Risk Management training for faculty who already have programs in place. It is designed to review the possible risks students may face while studying and traveling abroad, including health issues and the H1N1 flu.

Other events offered throughout International Education Week include the Study Abroad Fair sponsored by the Bryan School of Business, International Students Association Information Table, and an exciting Friday Fest where there will be several cultural performances and the winners of the Study Abroad Photo Contest will be announced.

For a complete listing of International Education Week activities, please visit www.uncg.edu/ipg.

Winners from last year’s IEW Study Abroad Photo Competition:

Overall: "A Boy and His Pup" by Audrie Webster

Cityscape: "Interlaken" by Dana White, taken in Switzerland
Culture: "Rowboat" by Andrea Waldon
Humor: "Shock" by Patricia "Claire" Caropreso, taken in Vatican City
People: "So Serious" by Maiya Howard

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October 2009

SASASAAS Conference Report by Jamie Anderson

On September 25-26, 2009 UNCG hosted the annual meeting of the South Atlantic States Association for Asian and African Studies (SASASAAS), a consortium of 23 regional colleges and universities that offer courses in either Asian or African studies. Dr. Jamie Anderson, Associate Professor in the UNCG History Department and current Executive Director of SASASAAS was the organizer of the event.

This year’s conference theme was “Human Rights, Medicine and Gender Issues in Modern-day Sri Lanka and South Africa.” The meeting was held in the Bryan School auditorium. 

Dr. Sandya Hewamanne, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University, spoke about the plight of Sri Lankan female factory workers in her talk “Duty Bound? Militarization, Romances and New forms of Violence among Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone Factory Workers.” Dr. Karen Flint, Director of Public History and Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, offered an overview of the impact of HIV/AIDS on South African society in her talk “Considering the History of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.”  Both presentations were well received.

Dr. Sandya Hewamanne with Dr. Jamie Anderson

Friday evening's fare was a screening of the 2002 Singhalese language feature film Sulang Kirrilli (Wind Bird)by the Sri Lankan director Inoka Sathyangani. The conference culminated on Saturday morning with a workshop on pedagogy titled, “In the Classroom: Teaching about Gender Politics in Sri Lanka and South Africa.” IPC provided both financial and logistical support for this event. 

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September 2009

International Ambassadors by Jamie Holt

The International Programs Center (IPC) created the position of International Ambassador (IA) last spring to unify and organize efforts to recruit more UNCG students to study abroad.  Before the IA position existed, it was mainly IPC staff members, and the occasional recently returned study abroad student, who gave presentations about what makes studying abroad so great and how to take advantage of the programs IPC offers.

While IPC staff are more than capable of delivering a compelling presentation about the benefits of studying abroad, it is difficult for them to provide the same personal experience and student perspective the International Ambassadors can.  Conversely, a randomly selected returning student may be able to draw an audience of students in with the exciting stories and quirky anecdotes associated with studying abroad, but lack the training necessary to answer logistical questions. The International Ambassador position creates a hybrid of these two perspectives by training students returning from studying abroad as knowledgeable representatives of the IPC office and facilitating the preparation of an effective presentation to be given to classes and student groups on campus.

In addition to the various presentations given and facilitated by the International Ambassadors, they are currently working with IPC to create a support group for students returning from studying abroad and dealing with reverse culture shock.  The IAs are continuing their training with regular informational workshops led by Tom Martinek, Assistant Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs, and by volunteering in the IPC office. They are also fortunate to have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the broader international education community by attending the NAFSA Region VII 2009 Conference in October with members of the IPC staff.

The 2009-2010 International Ambassadors are Dee Brown,Tricia Whiting, Dora Rosser, Kata Dungan, and Jamie Holt.

Dee is a senior double majoring in Business Administration and Communication Studies. She studied at Jean Moulin University in Lyon, France. Dee spent this past summer in Florida on her third stint in the Disney College Program, and is currently working as an IPC intern. As such, she is the organizational force behind the IA program, helping Tom Martinek schedule and organize the various study abroad presentations.

Kata is a senior International and Global Studies major with a dual concentration in Human Rights and Public Health. During her time at UNCG, Kata has been fortunate enough to study abroad twice, with both a semester at the University of Tartu in Estonia and a summer program in Honduras. Kata is living proof that getting bit by the travel bug is a lifelong condition: she has plans to study abroad again next year in South America.

Jamie is a senior majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in Media Writing. Jamie spent the fall semester of 2008 in Melbourne, Australia at Deakin University and the two months following the end of classes travelling in New Zealand and Fiji. She is currently studying the effects of Americanization and cultural imperialism on international cinemas, a continuation of material she studied in Australia. 

Dora is a junior Elementary Education major with a concentration in Specialized Education Services. She studied at the University of Oulu, Finland during the fall 2008 semester. As the only IA not graduating before May 2010, Dora plans to continue in the International Ambassador program and in the returning student support group next year.

Tricia is a senior studying International Relations, Political Science, and European History, and she studied at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She is seriously considering joining the Peace Corps and hopes to move, at least somewhat permanently, to another country upon graduating.

Though the five International Ambassadors spent their time abroad in vastly different countries, they share the belief that studying abroad is a life-changing experience no student should leave college without.  This passion for the international education experience, as well as an enthusiasm for sharing this important opportunity with the students of UNCG, drives the International Ambassadors to help expand the student population studying abroad.

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Page updated: April 28, 2010

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International Programs Center
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
203 Foust Building
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
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