November 18, 2009

Walkin' for Water- International Education Week 2009

Does carrying 5 gallons of water seem like an easy task to you? Looks and perception can be very deceiving-this was the case with Walkin' for Water.

The Gender Excellence Learning Community (Women's and Gender Studies Department) created the Walkin' for Water service project as a way to give back and change the lives of women and girls in developing countries. On average a young girl or woman carries 5 gallons of water 4 miles a day! With so much of their time being spent on gathering water for their families-their education suffers.

We then set out to make it all happen-we began planning how we would raise money that would be donated to Water1st International. Water1st International is a non-profit organization that builds wells in India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Honduras. After weeks of preparation Nov. 17 was finally here and we were all motivated to raise money!

Our first fundraising event was on Nov. 17, during International Education Week, we set up outside of Fretwell. In order to raise money we challenged people's strength and their perception by asking them to carry or run with two 5 gallon buckets-with 2.5 gallons of water in each- to get an understanding of what these women and girls go through on a daily basis to get a basic need:water. Some participants took nice calm strolls with the water in tow while others got more competitive and created a race out of it. The UNC Charlotte Women's Rugby team came out to help and challenged people to race them with the water-it was a hit! Needless to say most people were shocked at how difficult this seemingly easy task really was. This event was a success-a grand total of $102.55 was raised in 2 hours-that will build 5 wells!

Not only did we want this to be a fundraising event-but we also wanted to educate people on our cause. It is our hope that UNC Charlotte students, faculty/staff and visitors that participated-or saw the event going on-are now more educated on the cause and have a place in their hearts to help people in developing countries that struggle to get something that Americans sometimes take for granted.

Walkin' for Water will host another fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 19, outside of Fretwell from 2:30-4:20pm. Donations will be taken and races will resume. Come out and get involved with a great cause and fun!

Thanks to everyone that participated and donated. Your help and contributions are appreciated and will help to change the lives of people across the world.

November 16, 2009

International Education Week is Here!

International Education Week is here, and we have more events than ever before. No matter what you are interested in, you can find something you can enjoy during International Education Week. Have lunch or dinner with your friends in Crown Commons - they are hosting a week of International Cuisine from around the world. Each day offers food from a different region - Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Come enjoy the delicious food and world culture.

If you are not a foodie, don’t worry, we still have something for you. Come watch a movie - we have several award-winning movies from around the world that relate to international topics and issues.

Sleepwalking Land is about how an orphaned trying to find his family in war-torn Mozambique. The film displays the power of imagination for surviving, and ultimately overcoming, the devastation of war.

Nobody Knows is about how young boy in Tokyo trying manages the household and take care his three younger siblings after his mother abandons them. How the children find new ways to survive after the money runs out. Based on a true story.

Gegen Die Wand is about two German Turks who decide to marry each other when they meet at the hospital after they tried to commit suicide.

Trade is a story about a girl was kidnapped by underground traffic trying to escape from the brutal global underworld, and how her brother and police determined to rescue her. A socially conscious film, Trade does not look away or glance over the horrors of the sex trade, even in the most painful of details.

A Journey to Darfur is promote awareness and education on genocide, hatred, mass violence and human right violations pertaining to historical atrocities and similar current conflicts.

If you are more of a social person, come to our international food sampler and international coffee hour to meet some new friends from around the world. Or join us for the brown bag lunch travel presentation, our presenters will share their international travel experience with you in the luncheon.

Prefer to be active? Recreational Services is hosting several dance classes; including Zumba, Salsa and Ballroom and Latin Dance over the week. Come get your international groove on.

Join us to celebrate UNC Charlotte’s global nature - history, language, film, culture, speakers, food, coffee and much, much more are combined for an exciting international experience. For the list of the events visit our website at

Eat. Drink. Learn. Think. Read. Do. Go Global.

November 6, 2009

15 ways to "go global" at UNC Charlotte

1. Participate in International Education Week
2. Join one of many International Student Organizations
3. Visit our Blog - :)
4. Become a Friendship and Culture Exchange Partner
5. Study Abroad
6. Attend International Film Series
7. Join the International Club
8. Attend International Coffee Hour
9. Participate in the International Festival
10. Live in Witherspoon Hall’s International House
11. Become an International Studies Major or Minor
12. Join the Model United Nations
13. Join Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars
14. Facebook Group-Office of International Programs, UNC Charlotte
15. Attend the International Speaker Series

Right now we're most concerned with #1. The week of November 16-20, 2009 has 35 programs scheduled to reflect the global nature of UNC Charlotte - history, language, film, culture, speakers, food, coffee and much, much more are combined for an exciting international experience. The complete list of events is available online. Look for other announcements around campus - contact our office (704-687-7305) if you'd like more information or need special accommodations. Don't miss this chance to "go global."

Eat. Drink. Learn. Think. Read. Do. Go Global.

October 22, 2009

careers in international education useful web sites

As a follow-up to the earlier post about the career resource fair, here are a few links that may be useful to anyone interested in pursuing a career in international education. - our office's web page with information about our offices and various programs we administer - just to get a sense of what all goes on in an "international education focused" environment. - the largest international education professional network. This is a great organization to be involved with for networking, understanding current trends and accesibility to resources in the field. - the career center on the NAFSA site provides information on the field itself, expectations of professionals in the field, a job registry and useful tools for exploring or advancing your career. - an article providing an overview of the growing importance of having a masters degree for success in international education. Check page 3 of 8 (or 38 in the document) for a listing on the sidebar of available masters programs. - a North Carolina professional organization for international education - start local, go global. Check their web site for the International Leadership Conference for students on November 14-15, 2009.

October 21, 2009

how to get the world's best job: Oct. 22

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree I was fairly certain of two things: I wanted a job on a college campus and I wanted a job doing something internationally-related. I pursued a graduate degree, got married, moved to Charlotte and was introduced to the field of international education.

Here was an entire professional trajectory devoted to "international" on "college campuses" (and beyond). So, I pulled together three part-time gigs in the UNC Charlotte vicinity - some teaching, some higher ed administration and some non-profit administration. Eventually it whittled down to full-time non-profit and part-time teaching; then it transitioned to full-time higher ed administration (in international education!) and part-time teaching; now, it's full-time, all out international education through higher ed. It was a process - still is.

So, I figured it out for now. It was perhaps the long approach and not entirely deliberate, but it got me a position in the most exciting office on campus (I'm biased, but that should be obvious)- Office of International Programs -"international" and "campus" requirements fulfilled.

On October 22 from 12-2, there will be a Careers in Student Affairs Resource Fair in the Student Union Multipurpose Room 340 A/D, and international education will be represented. I'll have information available on what you can do now (how to be international at UNC Charlotte), and what to consider when you graduate (graduate degrees and professional affiliations) if you're interested in a career in international education. There is also a panel and reception for students interested in student affairs on October 22 from 6-8 in the Lucas Room of the Cone Center.

This is a great way to get info now so you don't have to be completely surprised by career options - it's worth it.

Rebecca Vincent
Coordinator of International Initiatives

October 18, 2009

International Film Series: How far would you go for a friend?

Getting Home will be screened on Tuesday, October 20 from 3:30-5:30 PM in CHHS 380. Set in China, the film is in Mandarin with English subtitles. The brief film description suggests a comical approach to some universal themes: when Zhao, a middle-aged construction worker, sets off to fulfill his dying co-worker's last wish to be buried in China's Three Gorge's Region, he travels hundreds of miles with a body in tow. Situations that he encounters must be carefully choreographed to explain the presence of a less-than-alert body and he finds colorful characters throughout his journey. Themes of friendship and community emerge for a glimpse of human connectivity in modern China. Dr. Jing Wang will facilitate a brief, post-film discussion.

Here's a look at a trailer in Mandarin (without subtitles).

October 1, 2009

Celebrate United Nations Day

On the official “United Nations Day”, Friday October 23rd 2009, over 300 students spanning the East Coast will come together to experience what it really feels like to be a part of the most prominent international organization, the United Nations.

Dressed up in professional business attire, students from all types of ethnic, economic, and educational backgrounds will have an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone to discuss tough topics in heated debates, such as ethics regarding child soldiers, with the objective of creating a resolution the majority of their committee can agree upon. In stark contrast to the education realm where students form and speak their own personal opinions, they now must act as delegates from an assigned foreign country, and remain in character according to the stances that these diplomats may take.

Think its easy? Try having to represent China in the Human Rights Commission.

By setting aside personal opinion, the students are forced to view global events and circumstances differently, which always causes a bit of unease due to the challenging and controversial topics. After months of research using foreign media outlets, current and past United Nations resolutions, and resources from libraries, students attempt to gain a deeper understanding of how foreign diplomats think. Model United Nations sets to provide an outlet for students to gain a better understanding of the world, without ever having to leave the country!

As we continue to trudge through a troubled economy, many universities have unfortunately dropped Model UN programs from school funding, decreasing opportunities for these individuals to thrive and grow. How can we expect to ensure our brightest students are utilizing the most of their potential when opportunities such as this intellectually stimulating and hands on conference are taken away with schools now unable to afford it?

Here at UNC Charlotte, we believe in opening a window of opportunities to all students who wish to take advantage of it! With the generous funding provided by the University, UNC Charlotte’s Model United Nations team is proud to offer the first ever fee-free conference on the East Coast! We are very honored to be able to present this conference free of cost to talented individuals who want to make a difference in the world.

UNC Charlotte’s Model UN team has been incredibly successful in producing top-talent individuals by offering an environment which encourages creative thinking. After our team hosts the annual Carolina’s Conference, we go onto competing in competitions across the United States and the globe, including the League of Arab States, South Regional, and Harvard World Conference. These conferences also build and strengthen public speaking and networking skills which students take with them throughout their lives. Helping us earn over 100 awards from conferences all over the world, our Model UN alumni have gone on to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Peace Corps, law schools, executive business positions, and more!

Come see on Friday October 23, 2009 why Model United Nations plays such a big role in fostering success in the lives of so many. Join us in celebrating United Nations Day by experiencing this grand international affair!

~Niza Sulahry
Director General
UNC Charlotte MUN

September 24, 2009

launching an international film series: Sept. 29

The mumblings have started - something about a film series, something international, remote locations, SUBTITLES! All true. The Office of International Programs, along with the Global Film Initiative, are in fact bringing an International Film Series to UNC Charlotte for the 2009-2010 year. And it starts on Tuesday, September 29 at 3:30 PM with Song from the Southern Seas.

According to the Global Film Initiative, Song from the Southern Seas is about two couples, one Russian and one Kazakh, who have been relatively peaceful neighbors for fifteen years. When the fair-skinned Russians give birth to a boy of decidedly darker skin, hidden suspicions erupt and is only resolved by an ironic twist of family and fate.

Director Marat Sarulu explains further, "During the first immigration wave of Kazakh and Central Asian Russians. Many left the region,which created a severe disconnection from a whole culture based upon neighbourhood ties,integration and traditions that had been manifested over centuries. Many fell sick and died during the first years of their immigration. Young people, more resilient, had the chance to survive.Every now and then some would go back home, unable to cope with the different customs,lifestyle, climate of their new land in which they terribly missed their home and their usual circle of friends....I believe that the ideas and the problems mentioned in the script stand out in an even sharper way upon this background of angst. Men all belong to the same race, to the same family, and this is the outcome of my characters’ personal quest.”

The screening is open. Join us for Please direct questions to

September 18, 2009

Longest Running Tradition at 'Niner Nation coming 9/26

Saturday, September 26 is the 34th annual International Festival (IFest) at UNC Charlotte. It is the longest running tradition on-campus and brings thousands of visitors from the community. Efforts to coordinate the massive event started at the end of the 33rd annual IFest. Over 700 hours of student volunteer work are contributed - in addition to time and energy contributed by staff from all over campus.

International student groups and international community groups set up under giant tents in and around the Barnhardt Student Activity Center. Color, arts and crafts, maps, one-of-a-kind jewelry, masks, dolls, clothes,musical instruments and delicious food are everywhere. If you come at 10 AM you are welcomed by the Loch Norman Pipe Band kicking off the festivities with the unmistakable sound of bagpipes and drums. Anywhere in the middle of the day is a smorgasbord of activity, sound and food. The final act, the Manny y Sus Trabucos band ends the day with of rush of adrenaline-infused Afro-Cuban/Caribbean music (on stage at 5 PM).

If you've not been, you need to. It's a free day of events and "travel" on-campus. It's part of celebrating the diversity of 'Niner Nation while recognizing the world beyond. It opens at 10 AM and closes at 6 PM - you can stay all day or come for a couple hours. There's always something going on, food being sold, stories being told, singing and dancing. The schedule of performances is at If you're serious about going global this is the place to start!

September 11, 2009

Study Abroad Fair to South Africa

Studying abroad has given me a new perspective and fresh look at what I want to do after college. Stellenbosch is such a beautiful place; nestled between the wine-lands of the western Cape Province its people and nature alike have been quite welcoming. Cape Town is a huge city; funny how I did not anticipate CT having rush hour traffic - it gets really heavy yet it lightens up when taking a look at Table Mountain. Interesting how my study experience started by simply going to the study abroad fair a couple years back.

I’ve been here for a little over two months now and still can't believe I’m in such a beautiful place. This thought hits me predominantly when I’m driving to and from Cape Town the scenery is breath taking and the mountains which serve as a backdrop to the wineries are so majestic.

There is a plethora of activities around Stellenbosch, there’s always something to do. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, like to surf, or you just simply enjoy taking in new cultural experience then Stellenbosch will be right up your ally. Being that this is wine country the main road leading to this quaint town is lined up with wineries galore. Also Cape Town is just an hour away, there you will be able to discover a rich tapestry of cultures that have been woven for hundreds of years now.

~Juan Galvez from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

To start your own discovery of the world, stop by the Study Abroad Fair on Tuesday, September 15 from 10:00-2:30 around the Belk Tower. There are plenty of options,destinations and funding opportunities!

September 4, 2009

What's a WACC?

The World Affairs Council of Charlotte, or WACC, as it's more affectionately known, started as an outreach initiative of the Office of International Programs and is now an independent 501(c)3. Today, they collaborate with UNC Charlotte on many initiatives to raise awareness of international trends and issues. Programming and education are key components of their efforts. It's the beginning of a new year and time for introductions, so here's an overview of ways you can get involved with WACC followed by a bit of trivia similar to what you might find in their annual trivia competition.

WACC brings Ambassadors, authors, legislators, business leaders and international aid leaders to Charlotte for business breakfasts, community lunches and most relevant to us, the UNC Charlotte International Speaker Series. In the fall 2009 semester, we'll hear from authors Haleh Esfandiari ( My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran), Daniel Griswold (Mad About Trade: Why Main Street America Should Embrace Globalization)and Gretchen Peters (Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda).

Networking opportunities are available for young professionals (21-40) through The Magellan Society. On October 15 a group will meet at Pura Vida for a book-club-esque discussion of Rory Stewart's account of his walk across Afghanistan in The Places in Between.

In Spring 2009, WACC collaborated on a young professionals career panel. The feedback from the presentation was positive so we're looking to again host 3-4 young professionals who can provide insight and advice on those next few years after college and in the "real world."

And, should you be interested in building your resume with experience in international education and non-profit management, WACC offers several internship opportunities each semester and through the summer. Get inside programming strategies, learn marketing tips, support fundraising initiatives and network, network, network!

Last, but absolutely not least, is WorldQuest, the international trivia competition alluded to earlier. The event for high schools is held in November and the community is invited to compete in the spring. Over 20 teams of eight players answer questions from a range of subjects including Geography, Flags, Current Events, History, Famous Faces, International Art and a grab-bag of questions in Global Potpourri.

For example:

Question 1: Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September in the U.S. and Canada. A similar recognition takes place in many other countries on May 1st under what name?

A)International Day of Labour
B)Global Workforce Celebration
C)International Workers' Day

Question 2: When was the first Labor Day celebrated in the U.S.?

A)September 7, 1959
B)September 5, 1882
C)September 1, 1902

Answers (1-C, 2-B)

For more information on these programs, to RSVP for The Magellan Society discussion or to get involved, contact WACC at 704-687-7762 or

Enjoy the long weekend!

September 1, 2009

Wine to Water: September 10

In January 2004, Doc Hendley decided it was time to do something about the water crisis facing numerous regions of the world - over 1 billion people today do not have adequate water and sanitation. Taking his bartending skills to local communities, he hosted wine tastings to raise awareness and funds. By August of 2004, Hendley had moved to Darfur, Sudan to install water systems for victims of the genocide. When he returned in 2005 his commitment to providing clean water to remote areas of the world had been solidified.

To date, Wine to Water, a 501(c)3 organization, has worked in Sudan, Uganda, India and Cambodia. Using funds raised through wine tasting events, Wine to Water creates sustainable solutions to the water issues of communities around the world. Hendley's work has been recognized on CNN's Heroes . Check out the video on the Wine to Water webpage for a glimpse of the project in Cambodia.

On Thursday, September 10, Hendley will be sharing his work and international projects with UNC Charlotte at 3:30 PM in Room 380 of the College of Health and Human Services Building. Join us for a presentation on an innovative approach to one of our world's most challenging issues.

August 26, 2009

WELCOME..from the offices next to the STUDENT UNION

The Office of International Programs welcomes faculty, staff, students and the Charlotte community to the 2009-2010 school year. We particularly welcome all the foot traffic, dining options and proximity to colleagues (hello Student Activities!) that comes with the Student Union! We've been peering out our windows on the 2nd floor of the College of Health and Human Services for the past year as ground has been broken, a beam signed, infrastructure created, bricks laid, traffic backed up and landscaping planned.

In between our observations of Union development we concocted a worthy host of programs, opportunities and services to support student,faculty and staff who are interested in adding an international dimension to their academic calendar. We're going to attempt to post periodic (translated: each Friday)updates to this blog - programming initiatives, interviews, student experiences on study abroad, international perspectives from students or faculty and anything else befitting of the idea. We'd also like for it to be an opportunity for you to provide feedback on programs or post ideas about global UNC Charlotte.

Without further ado, here's a few of the events/programs to participate in this fall - many of them are currently without a location so you'll have to stay tuned for details (or check out our Facebook group - Office of International Programs at UNC Charlotte).

*Thursday, September 3 and 17 - International Coffee Hour - Prospector Cafe - 4-6 PM
This event is held the first and third Thursday of every month in the Prospector Cafeteria. Last year averaged 85 faculty, staff and students each time to chat, enjoy some snacks and enjoy some friendly board game competition.

*Thursday, September 10 at 3:30 PM in a room to be determined, Doc Hendley, President/Founder of "Wine to Water" will give a presentation on-campus about the global water crisis and the creative idea he developed to bring clean water to some of the neediest areas of the world.

*Tuesday, September 15 from 10 AM - 2:30 PM around the Belk Tower will be the Fall Study Abroad Fair. Get information about study abroad options - where you can go, how to fund it, when you can go, what you need to do, etc. Stop by between classes and pick up some information.

*Thursday, September 24 at 3:30 PM in a room to be determined, Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, will be giving a lecture on her incarceration in one of the world's most notorious prisons in Iran - come to hear her personal story of 110 days in solitary confinement in Iran's Evil Prsion in 2007.

*Saturday, September 26 from 10 AM - 6 PM in and around the Barnhardt Student Activity Center, is the 34th annual INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL. This is UNC Charlotte's longest running tradition and attracts 10,000 visitors to campus each year. The world will be at UNC Charlotte. Admission is free. More to come on this event!

*Somewhere in September will be the start of the OIP International Film Series - co-presented with the Global Film Initiative and funded through the Chancellor's Diversity Grant - we're waiting on room openings to confirm a date and time, but we're excited to have six internationally acclaimed films coming to campus for diverse perspectives on the universal themes of love, friendship, family, tragedy and community. More to come on this also.

That's September.

Join us. Get involved. Study Abroad. Visit a Coffee Hour. Definitely don't miss the International Festival. Post on the blog. Go global at UNC Charlotte.