Sep. 8—The fall semester is fully underway at Missouri Southern State University, and that can only mean one thing: The latest iteration of the university's themed semester, a staple of its mission of international education, is here.
The themed semester, launched in the late 1990s, focuses on one country or region at a time. Officials with the university's Institute of International Studies plan a plethora of events designed to educate the campus on that particular spot on the globe.
This fall, the focus is on the Czech Republic, the central European nation also called Czechia and historically known as Bohemia.
There's something for everyone during the Czech semester: art exhibits, book clubs, musical concerts, literature readings and film screenings.
Want to learn something new? Lectures are scheduled on a variety of topics, including Czech cuisine, history, peoples, economics, culture, traditions and music.
The themed semester certainly exists to benefit Missouri Southern students. Statistically speaking, few students study abroad or participate in short-term academic trips during their college years, and bringing these events to the campus is a way to give all students a taste of the international.
Most MSSU students will have been exposed to at least four different countries or regions by the time they graduate.
But make no mistake — most of these events are also free and open to the public, which makes the themed semester just as beneficial to the community.
And there's much to be said for learning about a country and a culture outside of our own. It helps to make us more understanding of others, more tolerant of those who are unlike us. It gives us a broader world view and introduces us to other perspectives. It paints a clearer picture of both history and current affairs and makes us more knowledgeable of the complexities of the world.
Life is bigger than Joplin, Missouri, so make plans to attend a Czech event this fall.
For a full schedule of events, go to mssu.edu/czech.