NMU's Passport to the World encourages international studies

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - International Education Week, November 13th to the 17th, is a national celebration of international student education and exchange.

The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Education teamed up to develop this celebration, and Northern Michigan University has held their own events all week.

Today in the Whitman Hall Commons, several n-m-u international students gave a presentation on their own country's cultures.

NMU's International Education Services invited NMU students to join their "Passport to the World" event Tuesday to broaden their perspectives of the world.

"I was hoping through this event that students can do some armchair traveling, not every student can afford to travel around the world," NMU International education services advisor Lila Isleib said. "I also just wanted the international students to get a chance to tell us about where they come from

The United States is the most popular destination for students studying abroad in the world.

Some students said studying within other cultures is the best way to understand a new people, and to get ahead yourself.

"Asia is always kind of looking to follow their trends at the same time retain our own identity, so it's like if you want to know how to get better you kind of have to come to the states to see what people are doing here," Exchange student from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Michelle Goh said.

University staff said there is no better way to learn a language.

"You can try to learn the language here domestically but there's nothing like being completely immersed in a culture to learn a language," NMU VP for extended learning and community engagement Steve VandenAvond said.

Students said one of the primary reasons to study in the U.S. is to get a visa, in hopes of one day being able to become a citizen themselves.

They also said education is done differently here.

"In Korea there is very limited and tight curriculum as compared with the United States because, I didn't have any time except studying economics in Korea," Economics Major from Seoul South Korea Juong Jaeho said. "But here, now I'm studying photography."

American students studying abroad said the same about learning another culture. One student said language can be a barrier, and discourage some, but, a little effort on your own part can get locals to open up and teach you more than any classroom.

"Just be open and be willing to make mistakes with the language, as long as, from my experience if you try, people will think that's really neat," American exchange student to Shanghai Morgan Christian said. "It'll either be really funny or, it'll open that door way between you and the person."

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