International Education Week 2021

International Education Week is a national initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education that celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. UM has been celebrating International Education week since its inception twenty years ago, under the auspices of the Global Engagement Office (GEO).

With events starting at 9AM on Monday, November 15th, and going through Friday the 19th, International Education Week (IEW) 2021 was a success! Events ranged from in-person interactive sessions to online zoom sessions and covered a wide range of topics. One of the many highlights from the week was an incredible welcome event hosted by Donna Anderson (Senior International Officer and Executive Director of the Global Engagement Office) and Nathan Lindsay (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs). After opening remarks, the crowd was stunned by a beautiful music performance by Kyoko Noguchi and personal story shared by ISA President, Tenzin Pelden.

During International Education Week, UM was lucky enough to host the Board of Regents for their November meeting. It was an exciting week to be able to show off what the Global Engagement Office, the university as a whole, and the Missoula community are doing to support International Education efforts. Three students spoke on the impact of international education in their lives during the public comment session on Thursday, November 18th. These students were Yulianus Kogoya, George (Jupiter) Floros, Kevin Thropp; two of UM's international students and one student who participated in UM's Education Abroad program. 

Bummed to have missed some events during IEW? Don't worry!

Selected content is available for post-viewing through the International Education Week website


Speech during the International Education Week Welcome
By Tenzin Pelden, first-year international Student

Let me start off by showing appreciation to all the professors, officials, and educators for their dedication and hard work for establishing different methods for students to continue their education, despite the pandemic. I also want to thank all the students including all international students and scholars for their commitment and persistence to pursue their educational goals during this difficult period. We will restore, recover, and rise together from this deadly crisis.

With that, a very good afternoon to you all. My name is Tenzin Pelden, a first-year international student with a journalism major. I am also the President of the ISA(International Student Association), and I am here to talk about the significance of international education.

Many people wonder why studying abroad has become so popular. The truth is, studying abroad has many sensational benefits;

International education helps us expand and broaden our views and knowledge about different cultures which helps us extend opportunities to learn from all different parts of the world. It also allows us to see things in with alternate vision on diverse logistics.

Having said that, I encountered a lot of differences both in terms of cultural and with education system wise. I come from a very remote Himalayan country called Bhutan. we are a nation that still holds tightly to its cultural beliefs and superstitions, which also means that we are not influenced by the western cultures yet. It was very demanding for me to adapt to the education system here in the beginning because it was utterly different from what we have back at home. It came to my realization that the system here is far more advanced and sophisticated than what I pictured. All the students here were brought up and taught to have their own perspective and opinions on subjective matters. They were guided to self-learn and we, on the other hand were taught not to think outside the box.

My father went to school here many years ago. He studied all his life in Bhutan before coming here and had no broad exposure of the world outside. After studying abroad, his knowledge on broader experience completely changed the way he thought about the world. I, as a daughter living under the same roof could see a lot of differences. It benefited me the most because my father no longer wanted me to become an engineer or a doctor that he always wanted me to be, and I was given the freedom to strive what I enjoyed the most. I am standing here today because I also wanted to see the different side of the world that my father saw based on his experience during his time in the University of Montana.

Lastly, I would like to encourage all the students and faculty members to take advantage of the fact that you have us, international students on this campus because international students are essential cultural translators and ambassadors and the fact that you have international students all over the world means that your learning can begin on this campus. It will serve of all of us well because we, international students have a lot to offer.