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International students celebrate Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving break begins on Friday, Nov. 18 and, for many students, is a chance to go home and celebrate with their families. But for some international students, such as Amanda Westman, a sophomore industrial engineer major from Sweden, her break will be spent in the United States.
As a member of the women’s soccer team, Westman is not required to be on campus for the entire ten days so she plans to spend her free time with her teammates.
A few of her teammates are traveling to Boston, Massachusetts for a few days, then returning to stay with either her roommate or another player’s family.
“Being [an international student]onateam,I think it is a lot easier than just being a ‘normal’ international [student] because the girls and their families invite you and treat you as a part of their family,” Westman said.
Quinnipiac University closes over the break, but students are not required to leave if they are unable to return home. Although the shuttle service does officially stop running, the café is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Wednesday, according to Andrea Hogan, director of global education.
Despite the abundance of activities and choices provided to keep students occupied, Hogan has found that very few students who stay over break have taken advantage of the opportunities provided.
“Because Thanksgiving isn’t a religious holiday, it really is a great opportunity to showcase American culture,” Hogan said. “It’s not about religion. It’s about American customs.”
Because resources are limited for those that do stay on campus, the faculty of the international students program provide trips to local supermarkets and shopping centers to accommodate any needs they may have, according to Hogan. The staff even provides trips to New York City and acts as host families to students who want to experience Thanksgiving dinner.
For the students that do leave campus, there are many options as to where they can spend the holiday. In recent years, Hogan has seen students that do travel the distance home to their respective countries, but the majority of students tend to leave the school to stay with friends or roommates that live locally or to extended family in the area.
Freshman Helen Dong from China, is another international student who plans to stay in the U.S. for Thanksgiving break. Dong said it is inconvenient and costly to travel home so instead plans to spend the holiday with a friend in Queens, New York.
For Dong, this coming Thanksgiving will be the first she has ever formally celebrated.
Before coming to the United States, the only knowledge Dong had on the tradition was that students got a break from school and would eat turkey. She does not have many expectations of the festivities, as the family she will be celebrating with is American-born Chinese.
“We’re all Chinese, I don’t even think we’re going to do anything,” Dong said.