Thanksgiving: A new holiday for international students

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Three pumpkins in the ground next to a bail of hay. Photo courtesy of unsplash.

For Americans, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays of the year, and international students are eager to experience it themselves.

Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the United States. The rest of the world has heard about the holiday through movies and TV series but has never had the experience of celebrating it.

Freddy Fang, a sophomore studying communication, is an international student from Taiwan who will experience his first Thanksgiving this year.

“I knew everything about Thanksgiving before, but I’ve never celebrated a real one,” Fang said. “What impressed me of Thanksgiving was that family get together at a table and give thanks for everything to God.”

International students who have already experienced Thanksgiving feel excited to celebrate this special holiday again this year.

“Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday that has a beautiful meaning,” said Gabriela Tirado, a junior from Mexico studying communication. “I love that Americans celebrate gratitude; I would love to celebrate this holiday with my future family.”

Ruben Varela, a junior studying financial economics, is a Chilean student who will have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with his family here in the U.S.

“What makes Thanksgiving special for me now is to be with family,” Valera said. “This is a holiday to be together and eat a lot.”

Iride Gonzalez, a sophomore studying communication, has not seen her family for two and a half years; however, she is happy that other students will have the opportunity to be united with their families.

“To know that a whole country is setting apart a special day for family is something that has moved my heart to reflect on the importance of families,” Gonzalez said. “As an international student, I have not had the chance to visit my family for the past two and a half years. When Thanksgiving comes, although I am not with my family, it really touches my heart to picture all the people I know being with their families.”

For international students, showing gratitude this Thanksgiving is a beautiful way to respect American traditions.

“I’m grateful for those people who care about me and invite me over to celebrate with them this Thanksgiving,” Fang said. “They treat me like family because they know that my family is not around.”

International students show respect and gratitude for their own families while living in the U.S.

“During this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful because, besides all the challenges my family and I had lived, we can be together and recognize God’s blessings,” Tirado said.

Damon Callister, a junior studying horticulture, is an American student and sees Thanksgiving as a way to share the American culture with international students.

“Thanksgiving is an opportunity to unite us all,” Callister said. “It gives us the opportunity to share more about our culture and the history of the United States and also to give us a personal reason to know why we celebrate this holiday.”

Thanksgiving brings the best out of students and unites them no matter their cultural differences.