Festive Feast Hosted for International Students
Sharing Friendship & Thanks at the University of Colorado Denver
Dozens of pumpkin pie slices, steaming trays of green beans, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and plenty of turkey slices (as well as pumpkin ravioli for vegetarians) were abundant at a festive Thanksgiving feast for international students, hosted by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office at the University of Colorado Denver. Students came from diverse global regions around the world but all were focused on one thing: having fun.
Each November, Americans set aside time to give thanks for the year’s blessings, and to hold feasts in appreciation of harvests. In 1621, Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Plymouth Plantation; it has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It is now a national holiday that takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. Parades, harvest festivals, and joining together with family and friends are traditions enjoyed throughout the country.
Staff, faculty, and American students at CU Denver extend that tradition to the family of international students at the university.
“I was an international student myself from Venezuela who earned a master’s in sociology and political science at the University of Colorado Denver, explained Carlos Reali, an Instructor in Sociology. “The international student population is growing on the campus, and I think we can celebrate this diversity.”
Sami Alanazi, a graduate student in Computer Science commented, “I did not know at all about Colorado before arriving here. I was welcomed here; the people are friendly. I have a job in Saudi Arabia as a teacher of computer science, and earning my graduate degree here will advance my knowledge so that I can help my students.”
Global Education: Study Abroad student assistant Alexandra Christensen observed, “It’s great to be able to help other students to travel and learn in other countries. This is a super-globalized world now, and there is much to learn about the differences as well as the similarities across cultures.”
What were the international students thankful for? A colorful cartoon poster of a turkey was available for students to write down their thoughts. Their sentiments included:
“I am thankful for…
“…the opportunity to travel in the world.
“…health, ESL, friends, family.
“…a loving family.
“…to my kind professor for everything.
“…all the American people that are showing acceptance and kindness during these times.
“…for pumpkin pie!!!”
Guest speaker John Sunnygard, Executive Director, Office of International Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, said,” Thanksgiving is a non-religious American holiday that is spiritual to us all because it brings people together to celebrate their diversity and to share a feast. Giving thanks is a choice – to learn from and to help each other and to enjoy sharing cultural traditions. As you continue to be welcomed here the U.S., I hope you can share in our traditions as we can share in yours. We are all stronger and better people as a result.”
From the looks of the wide smiles at every table, the spirit of Thanksgiving was flourishing.
Find out more about CU Denver’s ESL Academy
Read stories about the successes of international students, scholars, and programs on the OIA International Newsroom..