Chants for M.V.P. rang through the David V. Wise Center on Tuesday, Nov. 18, as Japanese student Ryo Ishibashi, ’18, jogged off the blue court after being knocked out in the final of the International Dodgeball Tournament.
His team lost the game within the next few minutes. As the winning team celebrated, Leah Herlocker, ’15, female president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, called everyone together for a group hands-in.
The shout of “Gators” echoed over the courts as the student athletes and international students parted ways. The tournament was organized by SAAC in collaboration with the International Office as a way to mark the second day of International Education Week.
International Education Week is a nationwide event sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. Each year these departments announce dates for IEW and encourage organizations and schools across the nation to participate. Allegheny College has been participating in the event for over six years, hosting a variety of different activities each year.
This year the week kicked off on Monday, Nov. 17, at lunchtime with International Trivia in the Henderson Campus Center. Students could stop at the international table and try to answer trivia questions related to countries represented by current international students.
Some international students stopped by but it was mostly American students who tested their knowledge, according to Lenee McCandless, international student adviser. The student with the most correct answers at the end of the hour won free tickets to the International Dinner, the final event of the week on Sunday, Nov. 23.
McCandless said that IEW aims to give each aspect of international education a different focus. The International Dinner focuses on the incoming international students that study at Allegheny.
Events such as the Study Abroad Photo Contest or Study Abroad Quick Questions focus on the domestic Allegheny students who study abroad. The dodgeball tournament, for example, was a great way for international students to learn about American culture, according to McCandless. SAAC hosted the tournament as a way to build a connection between the international and the student-athlete communities.
“I think it’s awesome,” Herlocker said. “International students are wanting to get more involved on campus. Athletes are a strong presence on campus, not just in athletics. It’s a good way to get them more incorporated into the student body.”
Between 40 and 50 student athletes and 20 international students participated in the tournament as well as the international students who went to watch.
For Bruno Jucá, a Brazilian exchange student, the dodgeball tournament was the first event of the week that he attended and he is planning to attend the International Dinner. He believes that IEW is helpful for international students.
“For international students, it’s hard to adapt,” Jucá said. “Weeks like this make us feel more at home; it’s a great idea I think,” he said.
Other events held throughout the week were an International Coffee/Tea Hour and a Study Abroad Photo Contest on Wednesday and a Study Abroad Quick Questions on Thursday.
The International Language Tables also ran during lunchtime of the week for students to attend. These tables give students who are studying a language a chance to get together with each other and native speakers, practice their language skills and learn about different cultures.
At the Spanish Language Table, Hector Lopez, the Fulbright Foreign Teaching Assistant, said they talk about Spanish and Latin-American culture and the different variations of Spanish. From a teaching perspective, he sees it as a way to break some barriers between the international community and the student body.
“It’s the opportunity to break the ice with my students,” Lopez said.