By Stephanie Yuvienco and Darius Kwak
The dancers Anastasiya Vorobkevych and Yana Senchylo saunter onto the stage as a 1940’s wartime Russian folk song fades into the loudspeakers. They quickly send a smirk to each other across a stage decked with a painting of international flags in the middle. Then they begin to waltz with their partners.
“We’re just a bunch of Russian international students who got together a week ago to dance for tonight,” Vorobkevych said.
Global Reception is just one out of 11 events during International Education Week, a nationwide initiative to familiarize students with different cultures. On Monday, Adelphi’s Office of International Student Services hosted the hour and a half long event to showcase international countries on campus through photography, performances and cultural cuisine.
The initiative at Adelphi started in 2007 when the Director of International Student Services and Interfaith Center, Wendy Badala, decided to expand it to a more centralized and coordinated effort throughout the university.
“Each event during the week has been inspired for a different reason and extra attention is spent on making sure we do as much as possible to be as authentic as possible to each story, conversation, culture, and history,” Badala said.
“We’re a global society,” Anna Mongillo, Director of International Student Affairs at Hofstra University, said. “It’s important for students and faculty to know that their words and actions are something that resonates across oceans.”
On November 13, the Institute of International Education released its annual 2017 Open Doors® Report on International Educational Exchange in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs. The data displays international student enrollment rising by 3.4 percent in 2016, hitting a record high of 1,078,822 studying in the U.S.
“A lot of this increase has come from the fact that students have come to the U.S. in large numbers and have also stayed in the U.S.,” Dr. Rajika Bhandari, head of research at IIE, said in press conference November 13. “But we do see a decrease in new students coming in, showing a flattening in the growth.”
Guests speakers talked about the importance of inclusion and creating a safe space for international students.
“In recent months, our organization created a group of faculty and staff who have volunteered just to be there for people who feel somewhat in jeopardy, whether they’re DACA recipients or international students,” Perry Greene, Co-Chair of DACA International and Immigration Task Force said. “[Students and the community] are going to help Adelphi become a world-class institution.”
The international celebration ends this Friday with the East meets West event, which will highlight student-run booths and various cultural dishes.
“As an international student, I really appreciate the effort to make it feel like home,” Jua Son, a senior at Adelphi, said. “I think it’s going great and I know this is something [the university] put a lot of effort and money into to bring out the global aspect of Adelphi University.”