Post-Event Media: International Education Week

Days after Chancellor Martin returned from Greater China, International Education Week (November 15 – 19) offered students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to reflect on how best to prepare for careers in a fast changing, interconnected world.  A joint initiative of the U. S. Departments of State and Education, International Education Week was celebrated across campus with a series of internationally-themed events and activities.

The Division of International Studies was active during International Education Week and we’d like to share a few highlights.

International Learning Communities (ILC) Roundtable Dinner
(November 17, 2010)

Photos by Pauline Zhu, Division of International Studies

On November 17, Gilles Bousquet, vice provost for globalization and dean of the Division of International Studies was invited to give remarks during the International Learning Community’s (ILC) bi-weekly roundtable dinner at Upper Carson Gulley Commons. He shared with students and faculty members UW-Madison’s achievements, ongoing projects, and visions for global education.

UW-Madison has been dedicated to educating globally-competent students who can live, learn, and work across cultures. Currently, 22% of the graduating class has study abroad experience, according to Dean Bousquet, and the number is expected to increase to 50% by 2020. “This is a watershed,” he said, which could only have come true with the support of students, faculty members, and staff. The vision is that in ten years, study abroad would become “… a part of Wisconsin experience for all the students, like a soft requirement.”

At the ILC dinner, Dean Bousquet also talked about Chancellor Martin’s recent trip to China, her second visit in seven months. Dean Bousquet was part of the two delegations, which visited 13 universities, signed seven MOUs, and met with more than 500 alumni and parents. The university has decided to make China the number one destination in study abroad, and Chancellor Martin promised to visit China at least one time each year.

At the dinner, Dean Bousquet mentioned that the Chinese government is also very interested in cooperating with UW-Madison because of its persistent pursuit of innovation, excellence, and public service. “I believe, together we can make the world a better place,” Dean Bousquet concluded.

Students raised many questions concerning affordability, flexibility, provision, and access to opportunities. Dean Bousquet reassured students that special attention will be paid to developing partnerships with professional schools so that students from Engineering or the Medical School could also enjoy the benefit of study abroad. The goal is to integrate study abroad into their curricula, he said, and build a positive, encouraging environment. Meanwhile, Dean Bousquet agreed that need-based financial aid for study abroad is crucial, and the university has been working hard on raising funds, especially from the private sector. In time, ” … everyone who needs a scholarship has it.”

At the same event, the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for the Midwest Kathy Johnson, spoke with ILC students about international careers. Ms. Johnson visited campus, through the International Internships Program’s office, for three days to promote State Department opportunities to students.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ms. Johnson met with Political Science students interested in State Department internships and careers, and on Wednesday, Ms. Johnson met with campus career services staff to find ways to make UW-Madison the number one source for Foreign Service recruiting; held a Foreign Service Exam prep session for interested students; and lectured on the importance of international education and exchange in a globalized world.

Kathy Johnson also met with students at Coffee with a Diplomat sessions where she answered student questions about what it is like to work in an embassy and what a Foreign Service career looks like.  Ms. Johnson stressed that the State Department is actively seeking applications from students of all academic disciplines, not just political science students or international studies majors.  For more information about the State Department Internship program, contact

World Languages Day (November 17, 2010)

Photos by Pauline Zhu, Division of International Studies

Another highlight of the week included hundreds of high school students and teachers flocking to Memorial Union and the Pyle Center during the World Languages Day (WLD) on November 17, 2010. Dean Bousquet gave opening remarks at the beginning of the day. After a brief introduction of UW-Madison’s current offering and ambition in foreign languages and study abroad programs, Dean Bousquet claimed that at UW-Madison, international experiences will be “… not an option, but a requirement.” He would like future badgers to do two things: “First, continue whatever foreign language you are taking now, and learn a new one. Second, from your first day in college, plan to study abroad.”

The World Languages Day activities are sponsored by the College of Letters and Science, Division of International Studies, International Academic Programs (IAP), and Language Institute. Starting in 2002, the Language Institute has hosted a total of ten World Language Days, each showcasing UW-Madison’s strength in world languages and cultures. This year, more than 600 high school students and teachers from 25 high schools attended 49 sessions.

“International education is no longer an add-on to any major or field of study,” said Dean Bousquet. “It is essential in every field. Today, every student needs to gain the skills, attitudes, and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly international sphere. Wisconsin has a long, proud history of global engagement and producing globally talented graduates that create better lives for people in the state and around the world. Celebrating International Education Week as a community reflects our on-going commitment to that tradition.”

International Education Week (November 15-19)

Article and photos by Pauline Zhu, Division of International Studies