Festival of International Students at Penn: Philadelphia Welcomes International Students’ Diverse Cultures and Talents

By Hitomi Yoshida, Diversity Programs Manager, Penn Museum 


To officially embrace these international students and provide them with an opportunity to network with one another, Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), hosts a reception every fall. This tradition of hospitality, formerly called the International Student and Scholar Welcome Reception, started 46 years ago and has grown into a region-wide event with 600 ~ 1,000 with international guests and dignitaries. It’s been made possible by strong cross-sector collaboration among more than 25 higher education institutions, city and state officials, local global organizations, and arts and cultural organizations.

This year, with our key partners, Penn Language Center and Penn Global, the reception expands our mission beyond welcoming students with the new title, Festival of International Students at Penn. Celebrating Philadelphia’s new status as the First World Heritage City in the nation, we are recognizing the diverse cultures and talents that international students and scholars bring to our community with our distinguished guests including Mayor Jim Kenney. Offering global cuisine and multicultural student performances, the event will also feature a vibrant network of local organizations that promote international activities. International students and scholars from ALL regional colleges and universities are invited.

I myself was once an international student who enjoyed this annual tradition at the Museum, and greatly benefitted from the city’s abundant cross-cultural opportunities that I discovered through the reception. In addition to obtaining rigorous academic training at the Graduate School of Education at Penn, I was able to immerse myself in diverse communities on campus and beyond. My role as a cultural educator through the International Classroom Program at the Penn Museum gave me opportunities to serve as a cultural ambassador to local school communities. These types of community engagement opportunities extended to incoming international students are vital for maximizing their life experiences in the city while they study here.

Philadelphia is a brilliant multicultural city, full of rich academic and social engagement. Gathering globally active organizations, showcasing talented student cultural performers, and offering warm welcome messages from local leaders, the Festival of International Students at Penn will introduce Philadelphia as a city that embraces the diverse perspectives of international students—just as it embraces its role as a World Heritage City. Please share this invitation with any international students or scholars you know – I hope that they join us on October 14th at the Penn Museum!

Is your organization involved? For details on how to support this important event, see here.

Philadelphia is a global city that attracts international talent. As a hub of academic institutions, the region has more than 100 colleges and universities that draw students from all over the world. In the next few weeks, we will welcome new students to the Philadelphia region.