Flag parade celebrates students at home and abroad

Beau Sansom, Staff Reporter

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  • Students from around the globe represent their nations for International Education Week.

  • Nations from across the globe were represented in the flag parade for International Education Week.

  • Students from around the globe held flags in a parade for International Education Week.

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Waves of multicolored flags fluttered in the wind as a parade of students marched through campus on the brisk morning of Nov. 14. 

Domestic and international students alike carried flags that represented 67 different countries in a parade to celebrate International Education Week.

The CWU Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) kicked off International Education Week with a parade through campus. 

International Education Week is an annual event that takes place between Nov. 14-18 in 2022. Its purpose is to celebrate those who come to CWU from abroad and those who leave to pursue their studies elsewhere. 

It’s a celebration of culture according to OISP program coordinator and CWU alumni Joseph Ollivier. 

“The flag parade is kind of the big opening of the entire week,” Ollivier said. “To have our international students that are here or domestic students that have traveled abroad and have a strong connection with a certain country to come and bring a flag to represent that culture and bring awareness to the diversity of cultures and countries our students represent.”

These students were given a chance to wear their heritage with pride, literally worn in some cases as various students draped their flags across their shoulders and back. 

Oluwaseun Akinsola was one such individual, wearing the flag of his home country Nigeria as he joined the parade. Akinsola is attending CWU to complete his graduate program in chemistry.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Akinsola said. “Ever since we had our first International Week at CWU, when I realized there was going to be a flag parade I was really excited about it. I wanted to hold my country flag, sing my national anthem and let all see that we are represented here.”

Akinsola and the rest of the parade was accompanied by a quartet of trumpets to help signal the marching of the parade. The route took the participants all around campus, starting at Hebeler Hall 111 and making a loop around the school before returning.

Those who participated seemed to appreciate the significance of the event. Kazuna Oshima studied intercultural communication in Japan and came to CWU to study comprehensive English as a second language. According to Oshima, the parade was enjoyable to be a part of and she felt it was a good opportunity for representation.

“Through this activity we can recognize that CWU is a more diverse university,” Oshima said. “I think 67 countries joined this event, I feel that this is a very diverse university.”

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate students abroad from all walks of life, including students such as Giovanna Empronal. She came to CWU from Peru, where she was a practicing psychologist for 20 years. Her goal is to learn comprehensive English in order to continue her practice here in the United States.

“It’s important that university and the people “intercambio” (exchange) the idea that learning is very important,” Empronal said.

The parade of flags was just the beginning of International Education Week; the rest of the week will be packed with events celebrating the exchange of culture at CWU. Be sure to check out the OISP page on the CWU website for more details. Students may attend the Fall International Cafe series in SURC 137 on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. for a taste of the cultures being celebrated.