New international students living in the United States may not have had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving. In the U.S., Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated on the third Thursday of every November. The tradition started in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The origin of the holiday centers on the Pilgrims (early American settlers) and their gratitude for the bountiful harvest. Nowadays, Thanksgiving is celebrated to show appreciation for what we have and to demonstrate thankfulness for opportunity. Thanksgiving is typically celebrated with an evening dinner shared with close friends and family. Thanksgiving dinner is generally accompanied by quintessential food: an oven-roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing, casseroles, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. Of course, this is usually followed by pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc.! International students new to the United States might be interested in partaking in a Thanksgiving celebration. Here are some ideas of how join in the holiday celebration:
- University Event – International students can reach out to an international club or association at their university. Oftentimes a Thanksgiving dinner (equipped with all of the traditional Thanksgiving food!) is held for international students and others in the community.
- Host Family – If an international student is living with a host family, they can discuss the family’s Thanksgiving traditions. A host family can offer a glimpse into how the holiday is celebrated.
- Classmates – International students can talk to their peers and classmates about Thanksgiving to see how they plan to celebrate the holiday. Many students host their own Thanksgiving dinners amongst friends, and generally the holiday evokes the sentiment of “the more the merrier!” Thanksgiving with classmates, peers, and friends is a wonderful way to experience the holiday.
- Religious Organizations – Generally, religious organizations have a Thanksgiving dinner or lunch to celebrate with members
- Community Centers – International students can check their local newspaper and/or community boards to find out how others are celebrating Thanksgiving. Many communities have communal feasts, host a parade, or put on a Thanksgiving performance.
Regardless of how international students choose to spend their first Thanksgiving in the United States, SpanTran: The Evaluation Company would like to say “thank you” for always keeping us in mind for your translation, evaluation, and verification needs!