What is International Education Week?

five high school students smiling next to each other in a classroom setting

International Education Week is an opportunity for teachers, educators, students, and future leaders to celebrate international education and its inclusive cultural exchange. 

This year, International Education Week (IEW) takes place from Nov. 15-19, 2021.

Universities, colleges, and institutions across the country and around the world will have a calendar of events each day, with speakers, workshops, and other internationally-focused activities.

While COVID-19 protocols mean more virtual events than in-person ones, the enthusiasm to adapt and still find ways to collaborate is at its essence what makes this week so special. 

It may only be one week, but here are some ideas for how to celebrate international education this month and year-round. 

  1. First, what is the purpose of International Education Week?
  2. Join International Education Week’s virtual events 
  3. Empower more students with Ethnic Studies programs
  4. Open doors (and borders) with International Baccalaureate programs 
  5. Teach at an international school

1. What is the purpose of International Education Week?

This year, International Education Week (IEW) takes place from Nov. 15-19, 2021.

As a joint initiative developed by the US Department of State and the US Department of Education (DOE), the fundamental purpose of International Education Week is to promote the US on the world stage and strengthen relationships between countries with current and future leaders.

Events are held across the US and in over 100 countries overseas, organized by different colleges, universities, institutions, and organizations to further international education opportunities.

In the official statement from both departments, US students, researchers, scholars, and educators who reflect the diversity of the US population are encouraged to pursue overseas studies, internships, research, and other international experiences.

2. Join International Education Week's virtual events

The IEW 2021 events listing page has a complete list of virtual and in-person events around the globe.

United States

OrganizationEvent HighlightsLocationDate
University of Hawai'i Community CollegesHiragana Lesson (Hawai'i CC), Sustainability & Biculturalism (Kauai CC), plus various presentations and activities across all colleges.VirtualNov. 15-19, 2021
California State University Monterey BaySonita film screening followed by a Q&A with the directorVirtualNov. 17, 2021


CBIE2021, Canada’s international education conference, will be completely virtual this year.

From Nov. 15-19, there will be over 70+ sessions with panel discussions, over 1000+ ‘colleagues’ to network with, and over 30+ countries represented at the World Pavilion.

Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE)
530,540     international students in Canada at all levels of study in 2020
135%        increase in international student population in Canada from 2010 to 2020
96%        of international students recommend Canada as a study destination
60%        of international students plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada

OrganizationEvent HighlightsLocationDate
CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education)Over 70+ sessions with panel discussions, over 1000+ ‘colleagues’ to network with, and over 30+ countries represented at the World Pavilion.VirtualNov 15-19, 2021
CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education)Plenary Panel Discussion - Navigating International Education within a Complex Global LandscapeVirtualNov 15, 2021
CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education)Plenary Panel Discussion - Grounding Internationalization in Truth and ReconciliationVirtualNov 16, 2021
CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education)Plenary Panel Discussion - Reimagining Community: Pan-Canadian Institutional Collaboration in InternalizationVirtualNov 17, 2021
CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education)Plenary Panel Discussion - Balancing Opportunity and Responsibility: International Student Recruitment in CanadaVirtualNov 19, 2021

United Kingdom

The theme of IEW in the UK is The Climate Connection which also happens to be the week after the UN climate conference that will take place in Glasgow. The focus here will be on how to get schools involved and make a difference.

OrganizationEvent HighlightsLocationDate
British CouncilHow can schools go carbon neutral? (Webinar)VirtualNov 17, 2021

students friends walking down the hallway of a university

3. Empower more students with ethnic studies programs

Promote cultural exchange.

After a decade-long venture, California recently became the first state to mandate ethnic studies in K-12 schools for graduation

Students of ethnic studies learn how to apply critical thinking skills to understand how different groups have coexisted in the United States, exploring fundamental concepts like equality, justice, race, and of course, ethnicity. 

Educators saw a way for students to create a better world for the future. By advocating for a program that closely reflects the state’s diverse population, students learn two important lessons: the importance of their history and how to advocate for others.

California just raised the bar for education in the United States.

California’s student demographics are significantly different from the rest of the country’s: 

  • 60% Asian
  • 23% Latino
  • 6% Black
  • 5% white

4. Open doors (and borders) with International Baccalaureate programs

 Promote programs that prepare students for global conversations.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is an international education program that connects a worldwide community of schools. 

An IB diploma gives each student a competitive edge to get into the world’s best universities and get on the world stage with their fellow international peers. This program is their ticket.

IB programs were built on a mandate to build intercultural understanding and respect. With exposure to different countries and cultures, students apply curriculum-based learning to understanding problems and coming up with solutions for bridging those gaps.

Some IB Facts & Figures:

  • Between 2016 and 2020, the number of IB programs offered worldwide has grown by 33.3%.
  • There are 7,400 programs being offered worldwide, across 5,400+ schools in 159 countries.
  • There are four educational programs with more than 1.95 million students aged 3 to 19 enrolled globally. 

5. Teach at an international school and inspire future generations

Why not take the opportunity to celebrate international education by making a career out of it?

If you’re a teacher looking for a way to make an impact on future generations, teaching at an international school is a fulfilling way to make a difference and take your career abroad.

Future generations of global citizens need leadership from great teachers like you.

International schools around the world are currently hiring licensed teachers in countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and Spain.

Not licensed, yet? Look into getting your teaching license! You can complete a course in as short as 9 months. 

If you are looking for an alternative certification program, remember to check the reviews, making sure that it’s well-known and well-trusted.

Celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange

International Education Week offers an education that extends far beyond the classroom. When you open doors for yourself as an educator, you will open doors for other teachers and students, and attract future leaders. 

Happy International Education Week!