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Members of Phi Beta Delta and presenters at the Macomb Jr. High School.
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WIU Students, Faculty Celebrate International Day at MJHS

April 22, 2016

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MACOMB, IL - Members of the Eta Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Delta at Western Illinois University, the honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education, helped Macomb Junior High School students celebrate the school's fifth International Day in early April.

According to Dana Vizdal, assistant director for Western's Center for International Studies, every year, members of the Eta Epsilon Chapter, along with staff, faculty and student volunteers, present to Macomb seventh and eighth graders.

"Volunteers present on a specific country and share information about the country's culture," said Vizdal. "Presenters each gave a 50-minute interactive presentation to two different groups of students. Presentations included information on a country's location, food, clothes, music, holidays, schools and more. The goal of the event is to give Macomb Junior High students a chance to learn how cultures are different and similar to ours, as well as to give international students at Western a glimpse at junior high in the U.S."

According to Maria Montalvo, an eighth grade teacher in Macomb and a charter member of the Eta Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the feedback received from Macomb students was very positive.

"Students felt they learned many things about other countries and wanted to learn more. They enjoyed tasting food popular in different cultures and the stories about life in other countries," said Montalvo. "It's important that students learn about other cultures because our world is much more global due to social media and the internet. Students find that although there are differences, there are many similarities, too."

This year's presenters and the countries they talked about included:

• Niall Hartnett, academic advisor, University Advising and Academic Services Center: Ireland

• Daria Zakharova, sociology graduate student: Kyrgyzstan

• Shankar Ghimire, assistant professor, WIU Department of Economics and Decision Sciences: Nepal

• Guada Cabedo-Timmons, associate professor of Spanish, WIU Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures: Spain

• Julia Desfray, business administration graduate student: France

• William Turkington, broadcasting undergraduate student: Malaysia

• Weronica Ciepiela, high school exchange student: Poland

• Feridun Tasdan, professor, WIU Deptartment of Mathematics: Turkey

• Richard Cangro, associate professor, WIU School of Music, and Khaing Saw, instructional technology systems manager, College of Fine Arts and Communication: Myanmar

• Fred Nartey, engineer: Cameroon/Africa

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