Each year the Internationals Student Union (ISU) sets up more than 100 flags on College Green.

International Week 2017 at Ohio University

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Flags from all around the globe line the paths of College Green signaling the start of Ohio University’s annual International Week.

ISU president Hashim Pashtun is from Afghanistan and doing his PhD in Civil Engineering.
ISU president Hashim Pashtun is from Afghanistan and doing his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

The International Student Union (ISU) and seven more organizations at OU will be hosting events all over the campus until Sunday.

ISU kicked off the event with an international breakfast Monday morning.

ISU president Hashim Pashtun says the week is a time for cultural exchange.

“We have almost 2.000 international students from more than 113 countries on campus. This is the week that we celebrate their presence, their cultures, and traditions at Ohio University.”

The week is meant to celebrate the global diversity at OU independent of current policies, Pashtun said.

Hajir Ali is 29 years old and from Iraq. She is doing her PhD in Civil Engineering.
Hajir Ali (29) is from Iraq and also doing her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

“Every International Week is special because every year when we are celebrating something is going on around the world. There is always breaking news on campus or around the world,” Pashtun said. “But events like this are the time when we get together, where we unite and celebrate the good times and we support each other in hard times.”

That is also the reason why Iraqi student Hajir Ali is participating in the International Week.

“I attended to celebrate the diversity because we are so many nationalities here at OU and it’s our time to set us together and have nice conversations. We can exchange our traditions, enjoy the international food and join the international street fair next week on Saturday.”

Kento Matsuoka (25) is in a Japanese studying Aviation Management.
Kento Matsuoka (25) is a Japanese studying Aviation Management.

Ali is doing her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and says the International Week shows the unity of the international community at OU even they would be so diverse.

“When I came to Athens I learned about countries I never had heard their names before and now I even know a few words in their languages,” Ali said.

For Japanese student Kento Matsuoka this is the third year he’s placed the Japanese flag on College Green.

“I really like to represent my culture and to encounter other people and interact with them. It’s a very good experience to meet people from other cultures,” Matsuoka said.

This is the 48th International Week at OU. It started first 1969.
This is the 48th International Week at OU. It started first 1969.

ISU president Pashtun hopes the American students don’t just look at the several events on campus. “I hope they get involved and experience the events. So they can learn more about other countries.”

Over the week there will be several panels, an international talent and fashion show, a dance night and the street fair parade on Court Street.

The street fair on Saturday is usually the highlight of the week.
International students march with their flags in a parade over Court Street and cheer.

All events are open and free to the public.

You can find the event schedule here.