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Drake Holds Virtual International Education Week

Drake University celebrated International Education Week by holding virtual events from Nov. 16-20 that showcased study abroad and acknowledged cultures and traditions from around the world.

International Education Week honors Drake’s global and international engagements and programs as well as a chance to learn more about Drake as a global institution. There were many events on a variety of topics for faculty, staff and students as well as representatives from Drake’s global partnerships every day of the week. Because of COVID-19, all events were virtual, but still promoted Drake’s commitment to global engagement even during a global pandemic.

The events varied from working worldwide sessions to international alumni networking to many more information sessions, including global partner spotlights.

Hannah Sappenfield, Drake’s Global Partnerships Coordinator, said planning the events was a lot of work because she had to organize the Global Engagement Office and a faculty steering committee from across various colleges.

Sappenfield said International Education Week is “a great way for us to showcase all of the ways Drake is global” and a way to highlight global opportunities for faculty, staff and students.

Sappenfield said that planning was heavy because of the event being virtual and having to promote the events across campus and to global partner institutions.

With COVID-19, many schools aren’t holding study abroad or global engagement opportunities.

Many people can’t or won’t travel during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, including travel bans put in place while the virus continues to spread.

With this in mind, some don’t understand why celebrating international education during a pandemic will be helpful or is important.

Sappenfield said while international travel may not be possible now, it is still a great opportunity to emphasize opportunities in global engagement.

“IE Week demonstrates Drake’s commitment to global engagement for faculty, staff and students,” Sappenfield said. “It is also a great opportunity for us to connect with our global partner institutions.”

Mary McCarthy, an associate professor of politics and international relations, said the week benefits students, faculty and staff through “highlighting the diversity of opportunities available for making and enriching those global connections.”

With many study abroad programs being canceled, many students weren’t able to go abroad and discover cultures and traditions. However, through the week’s celebrations and programs, students, faculty and staff were able to learn and discover virtually.

“Although the pandemic is restricting our ability to travel abroad this year, we can still make connections with those throughout the globe, and plan for our future travels through short-term study seminars, study abroad, and working abroad after graduation,” McCarthy said.

The week included many events and opportunities to learn about global engagements as well as a photo contest.

The contest was open to all students, staff and faculty who have pictures from a Drake international education or work experience.

With Drake holding all online classes, this was an opportunity to learn more about Drake internationally and discover more about global engagement virtually.

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