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K-State Today

September 24, 2012

College of Education documentary focuses on international doctoral students

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Poster for documentary

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is announcing the official screening of "A Walk in My Shoes," a documentary depicting a glimpse into the lives of six international education doctoral students and their cultures.

The 40-minute video will be shown at noon on Oct. 12 in Town Hall, Room 114, in the Leadership Studies Building with a question-and-answer period to follow. The screening is open to the public, and organizers encourage attendees to come early to ensure seating is available.

The project came to life after Kay Taylor, researcher and associate professor of curriculum and instruction, and Mercer had a conversation about international graduate students.

"The fact our students had a wealth of expertise to share with others was a key motivator for this project," Mercer said. "We knew our students and faculty could learn and grow through the sharing of their rich heritage."

Taylor designed the video project to create awareness about these committed students, their home countries and their lives here. A committee invited students and six students from six countries – Angola, China, India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea – agreed to take part. Their answers to select questions were videotaped, and the topics include the graduate students' cultures, educational systems in their home countries, their experiences at K-State, and advice for international students planning to come to K-State.

"We may be assuming a leadership role here because while there is information for international undergraduates, we couldn't find much video content dedicated to international graduate students," Taylor said. "What many Americans may not realize is that these are highly accomplished people who are often here on a strict timeline to complete their graduate studies. Some of them are expected to return to their home countries and begin work in a specific field."

Rusty Earl, College of Education videographer, appreciated the opportunities "A Walk in My Shoes" presented.

"It was a privilege to work with each of the graduate students in the film," he said. "Their heartfelt stories and candid answers to questions are inspiring. It's amazing what you can learn from others when you open up your heart and just listen."

Taylor said the documentary will be made available to College of Education faculty for their classes, and she hopes this will start a trend where more disciplines draw on the resources international graduate students bring to K-State.