International students at WMU to share their cultures

Contact: Korey J. Force

Photo of students serving traditional Japanese food during the 2016 International Education Week.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University will highlight various countries and cultures during its observance of International Education Week, set for Sunday through Monday, Nov. 12-20.

The 2017 observance kicks off with the Western World Cup soccer tournament and ends with Malaysian Night. In between, numerous events, all free or low-cost and open to the public, are being staged around WMU's Main Campus to educate and entertain.

This year's week includes events during which attendees can test their knowledge of global trivia, see a traditional Japanese comedy performance, listen to an orchestra performance by refugee youth in the Kalamazoo community and experience the Caribbean way-of-life by way of the Dominican Republic.

There also will be opportunities to sample other countries' culture and learn about global topics through various lectures. In addition, several conversation circles will be held throughout the week, during which members of the public may meet with students learning English and have relaxed conversations about local and social topics.

The annual week is being organized by WMU's International Student Activities office in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, with events hosted by University units and international student groups. A joint initiative of the U.S. departments of State and Education, International Education Week is nationally being observed Monday through Friday, Nov. 13-17.

Sampling of daily events

  • Sunday, Nov. 12—Western World Cup, 1 to 7 p.m., WMU Student Recreation Center, hosted by International Student Activities and Aspiras. This co-ed soccer tournament will collect soccer donations for distribution by Aspiras to children in low income soccer clubs in the Dominican Republic. Registration is $5 per player; open to WMU students and faculty and staff members.
  • Monday, Nov. 13—International Taste Fest Potluck, 5 to 7 p.m., Lee Honors College Building lounge, hosted by the Lee Honors College and Western Student Association. WMU registered student organizations are invited to provide food from the cultures represented by students in their organizations.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14—International Trivia Night, 6 to 7:30 p.m., 3508 Knauss Hall, hosted by the Study Abroad Alumni Ambassadors. Test your international knowledge with trivia from around the world. Food and prizes provided.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15—Rakugo performance, 6 p.m., New Wesley Foundation, 820 Rankin Ave., Kalamazoo, hosted by the Soga Japan Center. Rakugo is a traditional Japanese comedy performance and will be performed by Kimochi, a professional Rakugo performer during the Japan Festival.
  • Thursday, Nov. 16—Talk, "The discovery of Puerto Rico in 1493," 6:30 to 7 p.m., 1750 Sangren Hall, hosted by the Division of Multicultural Affairs. The talk will be given by Dr. Ángel Gullón-Rivera, WMU professor of family and consumer sciences.
  • Friday, Nov. 17—Orchestra Rouh, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall, hosted by the Refugee Outreach Collective and the Arabic Program. Orchestra Rouh is an educational initiative of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra that provides ongoing music instruction to children of Syrian and other refugee families in Kalamazoo.
  • Sunday, Nov. 19—East Asian Pacific Festival—6 to 9 p.m., Student Recreation Center, hosted by the Malaysian Student Association. The festival will feature cultural presentations and food provided by the Malaysian Student Association, the Japan Club, the Indonesian Student Association, the Philippines Student Association, and the Chinese Association of Students and Scholars.

Additional information

Top portion of the International Education Week poster that shows the word "International" spelled out using portions of country flags and includes #worldatwestern, #globallyengagedbroncos and #iew2017.

The 2017 International Education Week also will feature such festive gatherings as Japan Festival, American Thanksgiving, China Night, Pakistani Saqafat (Colors of Pakistan) and Dominican Night. Plus, there will be two opportunities to practice Spanish with students and native Spanish speakers as well as three additional talks.

The talks will be on "What kind of language is Chinese?" "Vision of Wisdom 2025: Achievements and Challenges of Bahir Dar University Becoming a Premier Research University in Africa," and "Dams Large and Small: Ecosystem Impacts on the World's Tropical River Systems."

For more information, including a complete list of events, visit and click International Education Week. For directions to WMU or a campus map, visit

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