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Oct 24 2017
by Sonia Selvakumar

5 Ways International Students Can Celebrate Thanksgiving

By Sonia Selvakumar - Oct 24 2017

Since coming to America, I've had the opportunity to learn about the traditions, culture and appreciate the wide range of foods. As an international student, I realized how different the United States is compared to other countries and learning about these differences surprised me. 

One widely known tradition is Thanksgiving. During this holiday, I've observed that people like to fill their dining tables with a lot of food as one of their traditions, for example, mashed potatoes, mince meat pies, salads and, of course, turkey. Seeing all these traditions, especially on TV, when I was younger made me want to experience this holiday as we never did it back home.

Since Thanksgiving break is near, here are a few ways for you to enjoy the holiday as well as participate in the traditions if you're an international student who won't be going home.

1. Host Friendsgiving.

As many of you have heard, "Friendsgiving" is a thing. This is when you invite a bunch of your friends over and whip up a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Together, everyone enjoys the company and good conversations while stuffing themselves with good food and regretting it later. For someone who has never experienced Thanksgiving, I would really like the pleasure of hosting a "Friendsgiving" dinner. It may feel depressing not having your family with you, but know that you can still have a fun night with all your friends. As a bonus, you'll be creating your own traditions and you can even make it an annual thing. 

2. Go to your friend's house.

For those who want to experience the real deal, as in what a true Thanksgiving is like, follow a friend back to their house. Keep in mind that you'll want to follow a friend back if his or her family actually celebrates Thanksgiving; that way, you'll get to see their traditions. Before you do that, make sure to ask and not show up out of the blue without them knowing, because no one likes a party-pooper. 

3. Look out for on-campus events.

If you're afraid that you might be alone during Thanksgiving, don't worry, because you won't. Another thing to consider is that your campus will have many other students who won't go back home and are probably wondering the same thing. Make sure to keep an eye out for any events that will be posted during or before the break, because I'm sure that there are going to be a ton. Once you've found something — for example, a dinner that will take place on campus — make your way there because they might have home-cooked meals and honestly, you wouldn't want to miss that. 

4. Check out a Thanksgiving parade.

Parades are always fun to observe. If you're currently studying in New York, do check out the Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, it doesn't only have to be in New York — there are other cities with different parades, so try searching online and if you're lucky, there'll be one right around the corner. 

5. Black Friday Shopping

Calling all shopaholics: get your purses and wallets ready, because it's that time of the year again. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by shopping? Sales are everywhere and people will throw away their morals because it's suddenly alright to get aggressive. On a serious note, if you feel like a fun shopping experience, definitely participate in Black Friday. Even if you don't like shopping, it's always entertaining to see how wild people can get. Plus, I can guarantee it will be a memorable Thanksgiving.

Breaks are usually the hardest for international students as the majority of college students will head back home and the rest are stuck on campus. Consider these suggestions and they might bring joy to your Thanksgiving break, make your own traditions with your friends and do something fun!

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Sonia Selvakumar - Ohio State University

Majoring in Journalism and minoring in Media Production & Analysis. Into photography, fashion, movies and writing.

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