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Foreign students join in Thanksgiving feast

For The Miami Student

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 02:11

November is here and students have begun getting excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. While most Miami University students are looking forward to the traditional family dinner, complete with the turkey, international students have their own diverse ways to celebrate the holiday.

Thanksgiving day, for the country’s non-natives, is always a time of home-sickness, according to sophomore Thu Nguyen from Vietnam.

“On Tuesday night, you will see all the cars leaving the campus. At that moment, you just want to come back home, but you cannot,” Nguyen said. “So I plan to cook food with my best friend and spend our private chatting time for the Thanksgiving.”

To relieve homesickness, some Miami families open their doors and welcome international students to share their turkey together.

“My professor has invited my roommate and me to have dinner with his family on Nov. 28,” Iranian graduate student Sanan Moradi said.

Moradi and his roommate are not the only ones who can enjoy a decent meal on Thanksgiving night. Junior Jessica Lemond also invited her new Finnish friend, Saara-Sofia Eveliina Pasi, to her home in Columbus to spend the holiday.

“Personally, I am a Native American, so Thanksgiving is a very important holiday for my family,” Lemond said. “I just want to share my culture with Saara who has taught me so much about Finnish culture.”

Instead of staying at home like most Americans, some newcomers take advantage of the time to travel around. Chinese sophomore Lulin Wang said she is excited for her trip to New York City with her Chinese and Korean friends.

“I’m looking forward to the time at NYC since I will see the amazing parade and enjoy the valuable black Friday,” Wang said. To help international students gain a deeper understanding of Thanksgiving culture, the International Office of Education (IOE) organized a big Thanksgiving dinner event with the community members Nov. 15 at the Talawanda Middle School. Students were treated to a bountiful feast including traditional dishes, like carved turkey and pumpkin pie. During the dinner, they also interacted with the local residents through a series of cultural activities.

“I am new here with little connection with the local community,” graduate student Ramakanta Chapai from Nepal said. “The local Miami faculty I met today told me a lot about Thanksgiving Day history and I really enjoy talking with him.”

Holidays like Thanksgiving are not exclusive to America. Many other countries also have their own traditional holidays that involve a big family reunion and the giving of thanks, like the “Chuseok” in Korea.

“The similar thing between American Thanksgiving and Chuseok is that we all have family gathering and pay gratitude to what we have,” Korean exchange student Sunha Hwang said.

Every country has its own traditions that celebrate the blessings of the year. One of America’s strengths is its diversity, that allows people to experience different cultures.

“International students can participate in the celebration by having dinner with U.S. students and reflecting on the many positive things in their lives,” Director of Divisional Initiatives from Office of Diversity Affairs Juanita S. Tate said. “They can also celebrate Thanksgiving in their own way by having dishes desired in their cultures. A combination of different cultures sharing Thanksgiving is even better and certainly promotes diversity.”

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