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University of Iowa News Release


April 20, 2007

Photos: University of Iowa student Sunday Goshit shares Nigerian culture at a past International Programs Open House (photo, left). Monica Verma shares Indian culture at a past International Programs Open House celebration for elementary students (photo, right).

Elementary Students To Celebrate Global Exploration Day At UI April 27

Area elementary school students will learn about global celebrations involving the first day of school in Germany, fruit in Thailand, dancing during Diwali and Vaishaki in India, Children's Day in Turkey and African celebration clothing at the seventh annual University of Iowa International Programs Global Exploration Day on Friday, April 27.

"Let's Celebrate" is the theme of the elementary school event, which takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel, 210 South Dubuque St. More than 250 second- and third-graders from Eastern Iowa elementary schools will participate in the day's activities. Global Exploration Day is the culminating event of UI International Programs K-12 outreach program, the International Classroom Journey. The ICJ program seeks is a resource for internationalizing Iowa's K-12 classrooms by providing teachers with a variety of new opportunities to take students on a voyage of discovery.

"This year's theme, 'Let's Celebrate,' was chosen to teach students about traditions of celebrations in different cultures," said Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator. "We want students to appreciate and respect cultural diversity. We also want to emphasize that children around the world share many things in common, such as celebrating important events in their lives."

Students will rotate through five different fun and educational stations, each operated by several UI international student volunteers.

At the "First Day of School" station, the children will learn about traditions and listen to stories about the first day of school in Germany. They will also make their own Schultüte, a cone that is decorated to carry toys and treats that German children receive on their first day of school.

The many fruits that grow in Thailand, including the durian, mangosteen, coconut, mango and rambutan, will be the focus of the "Celebration of Fruit" station. Students will learn about the fruits and play a game to Thai music.

Volunteers from the UI Indian Student Association will lead the children in a traditional Indian dance at the "Dancing during Diwali and Vaisakhi" station. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, which honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and luck, and Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu. Vaisakhi marks the Punjabi New Year and the beginning of the harvest season in Punjab, India.

The "Children's Day" station will feature UI students from the Turkish Student Association, who will teach the children about this national holiday in Turkey. The students will also create puppets of children.

Students will be able to try on clothing from Africa at the "Clothing from Every Day to Special" station. UI students from the African Student Association will assist the children and discuss the differences of every day dress from what would be worn on a special occasion. Traditional stories from Kenya will also be told.

At the end of the day, students will gather to watch and participate in a Chinese New Year dragon dance.

Schools participating in the event are (school, grade level):

CORALVILLE: Coralville Central Elementary, and Kirkwood Elementary, both third grade.

IOWA CITY: Regina Elementary, second grade

WEST BRANCH: Herbert Hoover Elementary, third grade

Funding for the Open House is provided by UI International Programs. For more information about the workshop, contact Quintero at 319-335-0345.

International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Joe Nugent, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345,; Writer: Kelli Andresen.