International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving with American Families

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Different cultures have different traditions. America has Thanksgiving, which most international students have never experienced before. Now, they get the chance to spend this holiday with an American family.

The Center for Global Engagement (CGE) has contacted faculty and staff and asked them to open up their houses for the international students. The CGE encourages international students to go with roommates if they can, but if not they have the opportunity to be matched with an American family and spend the holiday with them.

“Thanksgiving is the epitome of the American experience,” says Becky Adams, admissions assistant. “It’s the essence of Americanism.”

Students are usually paired up so they are not sent to a family just by themselves. Most of the time, the American family will pick up the students sometime during Thanksgiving day and then drop them off at the school later that night. In some cases, the students get to spend the entire weekend with the family.

Jason Chen is from Guangdong, China, and last year was his first time experiencing a Thanksgiving.

”The first Thanksgiving for me was great and relaxed. It was a good opportunity for me to know more about the American culture and the food style. I enjoyed it a lot,” Chen says. He also explains that there was way too much food for him to handle.
The concept of giving international students a real American Thanksgiving has been going on for more than eight years. It all started with the International Club, which had it for an activity, but now it has become an annual event for the international students to attend.

Shiori Kaba is from Osaka, Japan, and this will be her first time experiencing a Thanksgiving. She associates Thanksgiving with parties, turkey, and family.

“I signed up for the event because it is interesting,” she says. “It is different from Japan, and I am excited to experience my first Thanksgiving.”

Last year, the Honors Program hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in the GSC for the international students for their service project. Lexee Tabbutt was a worker for the Honors Program, and she came up with the idea of inviting the international students to this traditional American dinner. About 75 students showed up for the event in which the American honor students were acting as servers while the international students were guests.

“The Honors Program had a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving with the Snow College international students,” says Rachel Keller, co-director of the Honors Program. “We look forward to future celebrations.”

International students that are interested in spending Thanksgiving with an American family need to sign up in the CGE. Faculty and staff that would be interested in having an international student for Thanksgiving need to contact Becky Adams.

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