UNLV celebrated International Education Week with an international student mixer, a mental health breakfast, and other events spearheaded by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).
The week kicked off with the “International Education Week Student Mixer” on Nov. 14. International and local students alike gathered in the SU Ballroom to learn about international student resources and how to study abroad. Various cultural clubs like the Punjabi Student Association, Filipinx American Student Association, and the French Club were also present.
“We wanted to bring different offices together with similar mission statements that help international students and those wanting to study abroad,” said ISSS Executive Director Lindsey Gruber.
Departments present at the mixer and involved with the week included the Department of World Languages and Cultures, the English Language Center, and the Office of International Programs.
Gruber said that for the last two years, ISSS led the event organization for the week. She estimated that UNLV hosts 1,000 international students from countries all over the world.
“Everyone needs to know how to interact with people from other countries,” said Gruber. “Cultural competency.”
The next day, on Nov. 15, Student Diversity Programs (SDP) hosted “Mental Health Matters Mediterranean Breakfast.” Assistant Professor of Health Education Leo Dai led students, faculty, and staff through light exercises followed by a Mediterranean breakfast.
“The exercises were to promote mind and body awareness,” said Dai. “When you’re aware of your body during exercise, it can extend to awareness of your emotions.”
Cecilia Cai, an MBA student from China, said that she is usually tired in the morning, but doing the exercises made her feel better than usual.
“I hope [SDP] will do this more regularly,” said Cai.
Other events throughout the week included information sessions about UNLV’s study abroad program, a luncheon for international faculty and staff, and even an Asian version of dodgeball called “vasati.”
“It’s important to celebrate this week because international exchange brings different perspectives and solves problems, plus this raises awareness of the diverse students at UNLV,” said Gruber.
ISSS recently started a program of global ambassadors that gives peer guidance to international students on how to navigate university and life in America. Nethelie Ruby Cajeras, an ambassador for the program, said that she may not be an international student but grew up Filipino-American.
“I never felt Filipino enough for friends back in the Philippines but never American enough here,” she said. “Now I have a sense of purpose for what I experienced, and I can help others based on it.”
For more information on international students or how to get resources as an international student, contact ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.