If you're a student, you're at the U of A, and you care about things (i.e. the world around you), then you best get yourself to this year's International Week. Here's why:
1. Calm your anxiety
Trump. Syria. Climate change. Residential schools. ISIS. Do you feel your body tensing up? I don’t know about you but those words are instant stress triggers. What’s happening in the world can so easily crush a person, not to mention take a serious toll on one’s mental health.
It shouldn’t be this way and it doesn’t have to be. So much of our anxiety stems from fear. To transform this fear requires us to make sense of the world together. A big part of overcoming the divisiveness in our society is hearing from the voices that aren’t represented in the media. Those voices can be found right here on our campus and they’ll be at International Week.
International Week is about grounding the issues and educating each other on the headlines that have raced across our newsfeeds in the last year. It’s just as much about giving the floor to those voices that are not heard, showcasing diversity, and uplifting our collective consciousness. The more you hear from a diverse array of people, the more you’ll realize we’re much more similar than we are different. That’s very comforting in itself.
It might be counter intuitive, but the more informed and personally involved you are in the world around you, the less stressed you will be. I personally think we should rename “I-Week sessions” as “therapy sessions.”
2. Watch the world stage unfold over your cold cut combo
Every year, SUB Stage is the part of I-Week that sells itself. Which means I really don’t need to be talking about it, but at the same time I’m too excited not to.
For one hour at lunch, every day during I-Week, the stage in SUB gets taken over by dance, music, and fashion performances from around the world. This year’s lineup features the U of A’s finest. We’re excited to showcase amazing Indigenous talent, including Metis jigging, Cree fancy shawl, and powwow phenom, Adrian LaChance. We’re equally excited for the music, dance, and spoken word performances at Friday’s session “Expressions for Peace: Colombia”. Of course, the crowd favourite known as the International Fashion Show will be back again.
Music lovers, don’t forget! There’s a very special concert Wednesday night.
3. A princess is coming
That’s right, a real life princess is flying in from Ghana and she’s about to get real about the problems facing the Global South. Like true royalty, Princess Ocansey is tackling the current climate chaos in her country with vision and grace. She’s not blaming the select few industrial countries whose emissions have induced environmental disaster across Africa, even though she may have the total right to do so. No --instead she’s working hard to transform Africa’s cities into world-leaders in eco-design and urban innovation.
Now that’s something to celebrate.
4. It’s easy to fit into your schedule
Being a student is a balancing act and planning your schedule can be a struggle. Since this is a week-long event FOR students, we want to make sure you can actually make it. That’s kind of key.
So we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. All sessions are completely free, programming starts as early as 8:30 am and runs well into the evening, and there are 50+ events. Fingers crossed, you should be able to find a time slot that works for you, and your friends.
The program guide itself is accessible too! You can flip through it online or pick one up on campus.
5. Get credit for attending
If you’re enrolled in the CIL certificate, you can get up to 5 participation points to count towards your degree. Every I-Week session is 1 point each. If you’re still reading this and you don’t have even the slightest clue what CIL is, you really should look into it.