By Curt Yeomans
Clayton State University students will have the opportunity, this school year, to study ecology in Costa Rica, business in Turkey and India, health care in Guatemala and Australia, and art and culture in Italy.
They will also have opportunities to study politics and history in South Africa, Spanish in Mexico, and a wide range of topics in Spain.
This week, however, the Morrow-based university will attempt to raise awareness about those opportunities, among its 6,604-student population. The school is scheduled to begin celebrating International Education Week today, with the opening of the Center for Ethics and Gandhian Studies, which will be run by Clayton State's Department of Philosophy.
John E. Parkerson, Jr., Clayton State's director of international programs, said International Education Week is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State.
"The idea is to, first, have programs that spotlight the various international education opportunities that are offered to students," he said. "Secondly, it is to point out the importance of international education programs for any students. It's, in essence, designed to bring attention to the place [that] study-abroad programs hold within the broad university experience."
International studies is a growing area at Clayton State. Parkerson said the university only offered four international studies programs when he came to the school in 2008. He said it now offers eight, Clayton State-run programs, as well as one program in Spain, which is run by the University System of Georgia.
He also said Clayton State has memorandums of understanding, with universities in several foreign countries that allow for faculty exchanges, where Clayton State faculty go overseas to learn about foreign education systems. Faculty from partnering foreign universities, meanwhile, come to Clayton State, to learn about the American education system, Parkerson said.
The eight Clayton State programs, Parkerson said, send students to Costa Rica, Turkey, India, Guatemala, Australia, Italy, South Africa, and Mexico.
"We're experiencing a heightened realization in education today that you cannot graduate without having some understanding of the world beyond our boarders," Parkerson said. "If you're ...going...into business, or science, or even education, you have to have some knowledge of the globe."
He added many of the programs send students overseas during the university's "Maymester," which takes place in May, between the end of the spring semester, and the beginning of the spring semester.
The programs in India and Italy take place during Spring Break, he said, and the university system-run program in Spain is a four-week summer semester program. The program in Italy is a new program the university is offering, he said.
"In 2011, we're hoping to have 70 students participating in study-abroad programs," Parkerson said. "We had 60 students participate in these programs in 2010."
The university's list of International Education Week activities includes:
* Namita Nimbalkar, director of the Gandhian Studies Center, at the Birla College, which is part of the University of Mumbai, in India, will deliver the inaugural address of Clayton State's Center for Ethics and Gandhian Studies today, from 11:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., in room 272 of the James M. Baker University Center.
* The university's Office of International Programs will hold a Study Abroad Night/Italian Night on Wednesday, from 4:30 p.m., to 6 p.m., in room 272 of the Baker Center. During the event, Clayton State students will have a chance to learn about study-abroad programs for the spring and summer of 2011. The office will also announce the results of its first Study Abroad Photo Competition, entitled "Viewing the World Through My Eyes." And, to celebrate the university's new spring break 2011 study-abroad program in Italy, the office will serve free pizza to people attending the event.
* Clayton State's Baptist Campus Ministries will host a Thanksgiving Dinner for all international students, currently studying at the university, on Thursday, from 6 p.m., to 8:30 p.m., in the school's Student Activities Center.