International students at East Tennessee State University have increased in number by about 25 percent during the past year.
There are now around 360 students from across the planet attending class at the university, said R. J. Powell, international student advisor.
“And they are in many different kinds of programs,” he said, adding the numbers should continue to increase because ETSU has entered into new exchange student partnerships, particularly with universities in China.
This week marks International Education Week, and ETSU is holding several events throughout the week to commemorate the occasion.
Monday, an international embassy fair was held in the D.P. Culp University Center, where people could visit with some international students and see items from their home countries.
Ingrid Estrada set up a booth in honor of her country, Honduras. She is studying English.
Estrada has already been living here five months.
“There’s a lot of difference, I will say good, but not that much in culture,” she said. “I think we are very alike.”
Hondurans enjoy fast food and love soccer, Estrada said. Music is similar, too, but there is a lot of traditional Honduran music where she lives.
Among the items she was displaying was a plate of rosquillas, a food similar to cookies eaten with honey and coffee.
Michelle Reece, originally from Barbados, also had a booth. She is a doctoral student in the College of Public Health.
She has been here since 1997. She moved here for her doctoral program, and wants to be a research professor.
She has lived in Maryland and upstate New York but most of her time has been spent in this area.
“Of course the weather is very different (in Barbados), obviously, but also the culture, the foods are different,” she said. “The things that are a priority to me, you know: family, community, is different here.”
She said there is a much more of a community feel in Barbados.
She had souvenirs and items from her nation on display including the national drink — Mauby Syrup, which tastes sweet at first and then turns bitter.
Qianru Zhang is from China and studying electronics engineering technology.
From the eastern part of China, Zhang came here this past year.
“I think it’s a good chance to see widely, to hear other world voices, so I came here,” Zhang said.
Zhang was with some other Chinese students at a booth displaying different items from their nation.
They had on display Chinese calligraphy, that had an old proverb — the early bird gets the worm. This would be something displayed in a study room.
Powell said providing a global view is an important part of the college experience.
“So part of the experience the university benefits from is these students who are coming to study here, they bring that cultural and diverse experience with them, and so enrich the student body by various experiences in the classroom, out of the classroom,” Powell said.
A photo essay contest for returning study abroad students and an essay contest for international students currently enrolled at ETSU will be part of the week’s activities.
International Education Week continues at ETSU on Wednesday with a dance exhibition by faculty and students and martial arts demonstrations in the Culp Center’s Cave Patio from 1–3 p.m.
According to ETSU, throughout that day, an information table will be available in the Culp Center’s first floor Alumni Gallery area, with instructions on how to acquire a passport, as well as a free photo area for those desiring to have a passport photo made.
On Thursday, the ETSU Campus Dining and Catering Group’s Executive Chef Jason Timmons will conduct a cooking demonstration, Thai Noodle Bowl, from 12:30 -1:30 p.m. in the Culp Center’s Cave area.
Also Thursday, Adria McLaughlin, ETSU student and Gilman Scholar, will present a public seminar titled “Roatán Mama: An ETSU Student and Gilman Scholar’s Adventure in the Archaeology of a Caribbean Island” from 7–8 p.m. in the Culp Center’s ballroom. Winners of the International Student Essay and Study Abroad Photo Essay contest will be announced following the lecture during a reception.
More information about ETSU’s International Education Week 2012 celebration can be found at www.etsu.edu/honors/iew.asp. For assistance in seating those with disabilities, call the ETSU Honors College at 439-6075.