At 6:00 A.M. on the cool morning of April 10th. A group of Missouri State international students and staff boarded two buses bound for Jefferson City. Later that morning, Study Missouri Consortium would be hosting their annual event where they invite the universities within their network to participate in what they call, International Education Day.
Starting out the day
We arrived to the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City later that morning to a ballroom filled with other international students from various campuses across Missouri. A light breakfast was provided while the students played an ice breaker game to get to know one another. As the morning progressed we watched several videos explaining what Study Missouri Consortium is and why it’s important that they host this event for international students to learn about the capital. They actually played an old Schoolhouse Rock video that explains how a bill becomes signed into law. That definitely took me back to the good old days in elementary school!
After the videos, we all proceeded to walk to the capital from the hotel. Breaking up into two groups, we proceeded to the House of Representatives and the Senate. My group sat in on the House of Representatives and was able to watch as they conducted their normal routines. I believe it was a little bit modified since there were so many of us watching though. Each representative acknowledged the specific group of international students that came from their region of the state.
After that we spent the next hour or so just walking around the capital and taking photos of the architecture. It was then that our local representatives were available to meet with us. John Black for Weber county and Crystal Quade for the Springfield metropolitan area. Students were able to take photos and ask questions about their jobs and how they can help support what they do.
A delicious lunch was provided for us back at the hotel that consisted of grilled chicken, green beans, and various other sides along with an assortment of desserts. Closing remarks were given at the conclusion of the lunch. The winners of the study abroad photo contest were also chosen and given their awards. We all headed back to the capital and took one last photo on the stairs together as a group. From that part, we said goodbye to all the new friends that we had made and headed back to Springfield.
This event is important because for most of our students, they never get the chance to see how a government is ran. Some come from countries where everything is top secret and others come from backgrounds where their governments are openly known to be corrupt. However here, they can ask questions openly and become involved in the political system. Our domestic students benefit too. They get to realize just how privileged we are to not only be able to vote, but also go and watch how everything is run. Over all, I think everyone should attend this event who can.