University of New Orleans Celebrates International Education Week 2013
As one of Louisiana's most diverse universities, the University of New Orleans is pulling out the stops to celebrate International Education Week, a national effort honoring the value that international students contribute to the U.S. culture and economy. Here on campus, students are learning more about one another and various cultures through a flurry of activities specially designed to celebrate international students and their countries.
"Our international students contribute to the UNO community in so many ways," said Assistant Vice President for International Education Alea Cot. "Our diversity is one of our University's greatest strengths. Our international students bring new ideas, new ways of thinking and cultural elements to classrooms and campus life. In turn, we hope that we help provide a welcome home to students abroad and serve as a gateway to learning around the world."
With international students contributing nearly $176 million to the state's economy, the economic impact of international education activities is impressive, Cot said. According to newly released 2013 figures from the Institute of International Education (IIE), nearly 8,000 international students currently study in Louisiana, placing Louisiana as number 29 in national rankings for foreign student populations. UNO is ranked fourth in the state for foreign student populations, with 810 students constituting nearly one-eighth of the student body and making up 10 percent of the total international student population in Louisiana.
Top countries of origin represented at UNO, including students in the Intensive English Language Program, are China, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, Honduras and Ecuador, Cot said. Study abroad is also on the rise nationally.
In 2013, UNO's Division of International Education sent abroad approximately 500 students representing 45 universities on study or exchange programs in Austria, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Turkey. In addition, UNO students were recipients of prestigious national awards for study abroad including Fulbright, Gilman and Boren awards.
International Education Week (IEW) 2013 is a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education designed to highlight the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.
"International education promotes the relationship building and knowledge exchange between people and communities in the United States and around the world that are necessary to solve global challenges," said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs in a statement.
"The connections made during international education experiences last a lifetime. International students enrich classrooms, campuses and communities in ways that endure long after students return to their home countries."
Diversity is a key characteristic of the University of New Orleans, where students hail from all 50 U.S. states and 97 countries and state rankings have classified the urban research institution as one of the most ethnically and economically diverse universities in Louisiana.
This week UNO celebrates its cultural diversity and heritage by celebrating International Week 2013, with a plethora of events sponsored by the University's Division of International Education, Diversity Affairs, Center Austria, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, the Aramark Corporation, the Department of Foreign Languages, and the College of Liberal Arts' Department of Film and Theatre.
All week long, the University Center cafeteria will serve an array of international foods. A blitz of events has been planned. All are free and open to the public.