International Education Week is a program created by the U.S. State Department of Education that has given students the opportunity to learn about other cultures for eighteen years. UC Clermont has been implementing the program for approximately ten years.
For many who have lived in a rural area like Clermont County all their lives, there is often not much of a chance for travel, so some students miss out on many of the rewards that come with such experiences, like developing a better understanding and appreciation of new cultures, or new opportunities to expand one’s view of the world and its citizens. This program gives students the chance to do just that, as well as giving them information about the travel abroad trip to Mexico—all for free.
On Tuesday, November 14th, Amy Bogard—who’s art is currently featured in the Park National Bank Art Gallery through December 13th—gave an artist talk and conducted her Illuminated Travel Journal workshop with students on the Fundamentals of Painting. Bogard considers her work “not necessarily a collection of precious objects but rather a trail left behind me as I wander this world as an artist, which is my natural state of being.” During the workshop, students were provided with watercolor paint, brushes, fountain pens, and ink to create their own art, and were encouraged to create thumbnails of their ideas in sketchbooks. You can read more about this event by clicking here.
On Wednesday the 15th, students and faculty met in Snyder 142 to read poems from around the world (with English translations). Poems were spoken in French, Spanish, German, American Sign Language, and more. On that same day, Jeff Rubel spoke about the upcoming Study Abroad trip to Mexico during Spring Break 2018. Students will be traveling to Merida, Valladolid, Izamal, Progreso, and Campeche. Professor Rubel stated that “every student that has gone with him on the trip has fallen in love with the country and culture.” You can learn more about this by clicking here. Also on the 15th, Amy Bogard held another Illuminated Travel Journal workshop with students from Fundamentals of Painting.
Also on Wednesday, and again this past Saturday, UC Clermont’s ASL Club presented “Deaf Jam,” a film about American Sign Language poetry. Specifically, this film is about a deaf teen named Aneta who meets Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet. In Aneta’s school for the deaf, she joins “an extracurricular program to learn American Sign Language poetry … and she and her fellow students gradually find their inner voice in the poems they create,” according to the movie. In the film, American Sign Language in poetry was described as “a language that cannot exist in a book.” Notably, another person featured in this documentary stated that the “survival of a language is the survival of a culture is the survival of a people,” referring to ASL and its incorporation into an art form. Over 150 people from the Clermont County area attended, both deaf and hearing.
Finally, on Thursday, Professor Phoebe Reeves introduced participants to international teas grown in Kenya, Japan, China, and India. The first tea sampled, White Peony (also known as Bai Mudan) is a type of white tea and “gives a delicate fragrance, and is currant-like and sweet in flavor,” according to Reeves. White Peony comes from the Fujian Province in China and is harvested after the Silver Needles, another tea. The second tea offered was a green tea known as Kyushu Sencha, from Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The tea smelled similar to custard and was sweet, with a hint of tartness. After the Kyushu Sencha, Professor Reeves served Jasmine Pearls, from the Fujian Province in China. The leaves are hand-rolled and then dried and blended with jasmine flowers. After that, everyone tried the Oolong Spring Blossom tea, grown in Taiway Mountains. It is considered to be a top-tier selection, according to Reeves. When brewed in the “gong-fu style, up to eight full brews can be expected.” The last two black teas were the Chinese Keemun and Yunnan. The Keemun tea has a fruity and subtle smoke flavor and its “medium body and mild astringency leave a smooth dryness on the palate.” The Yunnan tea is very smooth and is slightly sweet. In addition to trying various teas (sourced from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company), there were also cookies and handouts on the teas and the ideal temperatures for brewing provided.
Students and faculty thoroughly enjoyed these events held on campus throughout the week, from listening to international poetry to trying teas, as they served to deepen understanding of other cultures and broaden each participant’s view of the world.