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‘International Education Week’ provides the ethnically homogenous UNH student body with worldly context

We are in the midst of The Center for International Education at UNH’s annual “International Education Week.” The plethora of scheduled events began on Monday, Nov. 2, and will continue through Sunday, Nov. 8.

As a staff, The New Hampshire strongly promotes the idea behind the week, which is to educate students about cultures to which we are otherwise not exposed to in rural New Hampshire.

If we take a look at the demographics of this university, we see that our student body is somewhat homogenous in terms of origin. UNH’s 15,340 combined undergraduate and graduate students population constitutes only 559 students from other countries, according to the university’s website.

Although this total only makes up a mere 3 percent of the student body, there is a lot to be learned from students who come to UNH with backgrounds of different cultures.

The overarching purpose of paying thousands of dollars to go to college is to get an education, and a well-rounded one for that matter. We at The New Hampshire are strong believers that the most valuable learning is done outside of the classroom and from other students. Having some kind of knowledge and sense of other cultures is both a rewarding experience and an increasingly valuable life skill.

We are living in a time when countries, and the cultures found therein, are becoming more and more connected. Thanks to our good friend, the Internet: Business, commerce and communication between nations have become increasingly more abundant and convenient. What would have taken days or even weeks to complete before the use of the Internet became widespread can now be done in minutes or even seconds.

Businesses can hold meetings online via Skype or other web-based communication apps and international transactions can be completed electronically. Plus, virtually anyone can stay in contact through social media apps and other outlets the Internet has made possible. As a planet, we are more connected than ever before and it’s truly a remarkable time to be alive.

But in the United States, and especially in New Hampshire, we are not necessarily as exposed to cultures found in other nations that are different from our own on a daily basis. That’s no knock against the Granite State or UNH, it’s just a matter of fact. It is therefore imperative that we students take advantage of the opportunities to learn and experience a small portion of different cultures as made available by “International Education Week.”

At the very least, having the knowledge that cultures found outside of this country do things differently from the way we do them here in the United States makes us more humane and worldly. Furthermore, it enhances the holistic “college experience.”

It is for these reasons that The New Hampshire staff strongly promotes “International Education Week,” and implores all students on campus to take part in the many events taking place during the remainder of this week, the schedules of which can be found online and on posters around campus.

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