October 31, 2013 - 4:51am

A non-stop flight around the globe might be the best way to illustrate the spectrum of cultures and countries represented by international students attending Vancouver Island University.

In celebration of International Education Week at VIU Nov. 12 through 15, the public is invited to activities at the Nanaimo campus ranging from a storytelling night with live music, discussions and lectures, lunchtime world music, student presentations, and a colourful Multicultural Festival including fashion and talent shows.

Events on the campus provide an opportunity to learn more about the 81 countries represented by 1,344 international students currently taking classes at VIU, says Mackenzie Sillem, co-ordinator for Education Abroad and International Student Retention at VIU.

“We’re really celebrating what international students bring to VIU and the community, with their different perspectives and ways of seeing the world.”

The celebration also comes at an ideal time for many international students who arrived to begin university studies at VIU just a few months ago.

“International Education Week is an opportunity for students to have fun,” she says. “This is especially important for many international students who arrived to start their studies this fall. At this point they may be going through some culture shock.”

“The presence of international students from around the world enriches our lives on the VIU campus and in the community”, says Dr. Graham Pike, Dean of International Education. “We can learn so much from their cultures and traditions, and their perspectives on the world. Their presence in our classrooms helps Canadian students develop a fuller understanding of the interdependent world we live in.”

Live music with a world flavour from local musicians in the upper cafeteria over lunch will include The Big Mess duo on Tuesday, Nov. 12, singer-songwriter Eric Harper on Wednesday, Nov. 13, and the duo Oscar & Clif Clemotte on Thursday, Nov. 14. Listen in as you enjoy special ethnic food selections served for lunch each day.

Eric Harper will also perform during Storytelling Night at VIU’s Aboriginal Gathering Place on Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. All are welcome to listen to stories about “Cultural Connections & International Adventures” presented by Nanaimo’s popular Around Town Tellers.

Another special guest during the week is Dr. Kwang-Il Tak, who will make a presentation on how reforestation in Korea has played a role in rebuilding the country’s economy after a long colonization and the Korean War. This Canadian Institute of Forestry event will be in Building 355, Room 209 from 7 to 9 pm on Thursday, Nov. 14.

International Education Week culminates in the fun, colourful Multicultural Festival in VIU’s upper cafeteria on Friday, Nov. 15 from noon to 3 p.m.

Students have taken the lead in planning an afternoon that includes a fashion show with both traditional and modern fashion attire from all over the world, as well as a talent show and cultural displays. Live music with Masimba Marimba rounds out the afternoon.

“You don’t have to travel the world to meet people from all over the world,” says Sillem. “You can meet people from so many different countries right here at VIU.”

For a complete schedule of International Education Week events, see



Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443 C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

Tags: In the Community

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