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Juniata: My home away from home that keeps giving.
You’ve probably read many student blogs that describe college as a “life-changing experience,” but I am here to challenge that notion and say that being a Juniatian is more meaningful than that; it is a life-enhancing experience – it makes you more aware of how exciting life can be.
I don’t particularly think that you become a Juniatian; I think that you have always been a Juniatian, and all it took was enrolling to get to the place where you belong. There is a special thing about choosing to attend a liberal arts college like Juniata because you learn a lot about yourself and discover new aspects of your identity that you might never have thought existed. It makes you feel like you can transform the meaning of the word “education” and truly get out of your comfort zone to venture into different areas of knowledge and to learn new life skills.
If you asked me two years ago where I would be today, I would never have guessed that I would be sitting here writing this blog. I did not know that I was looking for Juniata until Juniata found me.
Before coming to campus, I was an online student for a year. Even though all of my interactions with people from Juniata were limited to a computer screen, I built connections very fast, and before I knew it, I was part of a community. When I finally got to PA this year, I was able to truly capture the beauty and greatness of our 300-acre campus and meet the people who contribute to its greatness. I was able to immerse myself in American culture, be part of traditions, and make new ones. Before coming to Juniata, I never thought of getting tackled by the rugby team as something that could happen. When I got here, I was able to take part in the storming of the arch and get tackled by the rugby team! I didn’t make it through, but I got very close! (The trick is to be a silent attacker.)(more…)
Get to Know the Center for International Education with Kei Takahashi
Juniata’s Center for International Education (CIE) is an office that maintains and administers international programs including Study Abroad, International Student Services, Intensive English, and exchange programs. I have been working in the office as a student worker since the summer of 2021. What I have done so far includes: making a podcast for incoming international students, managing international student orientation at the beginning of the semester, creating study abroad information by country, and organizing various on-campus events for international education. The workplace is very comfortable, and I love the people I work with.
Working in the CIE, I have made a lot of connections on campus. At international student orientation, the CIE welcomed about 70 new students from all over the world. During 3-day orientation, I talked with all of the students, and, thanks to this opportunity, I still hang out with them or have a talk whenever we see each other. Some of them knew about me before coming to the campus through the podcast that I made in summer, which was surprising and made me happy. As the CIE runs various international events on campus, I see a lot of the international students at those events. We have been trying to create a space for anyone to come and enjoy the international/intercultural community. At the International Music/Dance Festival, one of the events that one of my co-workers and I hosted during International Education Week, the participants were dancing, singing, and listening together to appreciate music as a tool to connect people. They enjoyed learning about other cultures.
The CIE supports multiple events throughout the year. Multicultural Story Fest is one of the biggest events, an annual cultural celebration of art, music, dance, poetry, and more. This event showcases students from around the world and all of their talents and passions. We also have a fashion show, where you can see beautiful, colorful, and traditional clothing. As an international student from Japan, I participated in this event last year. It was a great opportunity for anyone to appreciate the diversity and cultures all over the world.
Another big event that the CIE runs is Study Abroad Fair. Usually held in September, international students and study abroad returners promote the programs to the students who are interested in studying abroad at Juniata, sharing their own experiences. Even if you do not have any plans or interests, just stopping by the event and talking with other students is great inspiration to make a first step toward studying abroad.
In the future, the CIE is going to run more events for the campus community to learn and enjoy international/intercultural communication and cultural exchange, while providing students with various opportunities for study abroad. In working to create a more globalized campus community, we are always open to any voices and participation from the students, faculty, and staff.