Students grow in cultural diversity

Students learn basic salsa dancing at an International Education Week event. Photo by Mary Elsen.

By Mary Elsen, The Circuit.

Benedictine students participated in events aimed at promoting cultural diversity during International Education Week.

According to, “International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 13-17, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.”

A variety of individuals and institutions are encouraged to take part in the week, including schools.

“It’s both about international education on your campus and about educating yourself about international education,” said Marie Rioux, fifth year senior and International Student Ambassador.

The International Student Ambassadors coordinated a number of events for the week such as movies nights, a salsa dance lesson and an international coffee and tea tasting.

Miranda Contreras-Bulgin, head dance coach and Zumba instructor at Benedictine, led students in a Zumba-based salsa dance lesson on Wednesday.

“[The week] is really good for awareness,” Contreras-Bulgin said. “If you grow up in the United States or you’re not used to the different cultures, it can be a very eye-opening experience.”

Sophomore Sophia Anderson attended the dance lesson.

“I thought it was fun because I think it helps you actually experience the culture more instead of just seeing it,” Anderson said.

Rioux is please with how well everything turned out.

“I think we’ve made some really good strides in both making people aware about international education and about the international student ambassadors.”