Stories

International Education: What Does It Mean to You?

At the root of our work is the belief that global understanding and the opportunities to learn about other’s cultures and perspectives,
not only broadens our own, but enables us to explore more effective approaches to a range of societal issues.

When we understand how people experience the world, we become more aware of our own experiences. We are better informed. Ideas and solutions that never would have occurred to us are suddenly possible.

This is why every year we look forward to celebrating International Education Week (IEW). Next week, for the eighth-straight year, Cultural Vistas will celebrate IEW by organizing classroom visits that allow our international exchange participants to share their home cultures and traditions with U.S. youth.

We will bring 19 J-1 international interns and exchange alumni representing nine different countries to present at six public elementary, middle and high schools across New York and Washington D.C. As we prepped our volunteers for the week’s activities, we asked them to choose a word or phrase they associate with international education.

Here’s a look at what they had to say:

Desiree Schwindenhammer
Program: Train USA
Home Country: Germany
Word/Phrase: Understanding
“Meeting people from other countries gives you a chance to not only learn about your differences, but also discover how much you might have in common.”

Yeji Kim
Program: Korea WEST
Home Country: South Korea
Word/Phrase: Building Connections
“International education is a stepping stone for students to be connected with other students all over the world.”

Junjiro Shida 
Program: Japan IDYL
Home Country: Japan
Word/Phrase: Mutual Understanding
“This is the best way to live together in the globalized world.”

Boyang Zhu
Program: Train USA
Home Country: China
Word/Phrase: Improvement
“Improve my communication skills. Improve American students’ sense of other countries.”

Yuki Hoshino
Program: Japan IDYL
Host Country: Japan
Word/Phrase: Information
“Through international education, we learn a lot of information from each other. IT can be for education and cultural understanding.”

Miho Mitobe
Program: Japan IDYL
Home Country: Japan
Word/Phrase: Diversity
“Because a mixture of different cultures will take place.”

Yuan Yaozuo
Program: Train USA
Home Country: China
Word/Phrase: Communication
“Giving a presentation for high school students is kind of a challenge. I hope to get more chance to speak with kids.”

Yujin Jang
Program: Korea WEST
Home Country: South Korea
Word/Phrase: Sympathy
“Sympathy is the basis of education and especially more important in international education”


Gyeongeun Noh
Program: Korea WEST
Home Country: South Korea
Word/Phrase: Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself – John Dewey
“Because we learn everything in our daily life.”

Yunhee Jung
Program: Korea WEST
Home Country: South Korea
Word/Phrase: Mutual Understanding
“I expect that international education class will give me the chance to understand American children as much as they would understand my country’s culture.”

Talal AlRadhwan
Program: Train USA
Home Country: Kuwait
Word/Phrase: Expand your knowledge
“Because the world is a huge place full of people and we have to learn about other cultures.”

Vivienne Kara J. Salvador
Program: Train USA
Home Country: Philippines
Word/Phrase: Emptying the vessel
“Because in my experience in the international education/exchange visitor program, I learn to be open to new knowledge and experiences and to be open to change and challenges.”

Najeebah AlMahmeed
Program: Train USA
Home Country: Kuwait
Word/Phrase: Explore more
“I chose this phrase because it’s all about exploring and learning more about different cultures.”

Washington D.C. participants and Cultural Vistas staff pose for am #IEW2016 group photo

A joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education established in 2000, International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate international exchange and education worldwide.

Learn more about International Education Week and join the celebration by visiting iew.state.gov and using #IEW2016 across social media.