Most students at Colorado State University-Pueblo spend Thanksgiving break back home with their families, but international students have a slightly different experience with the holiday.
International students view Thanksgiving as an opportunity to learn about American culture through the Thanksgiving holiday.
The international students got to experience their own Thanksgiving on Nov. 20, when the Family and Friends group in Pueblo organized the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the CSU-Pueblo Ballroom.
Family and Friends consist of volunteer families in Pueblo who partner with the international office at CSU-Pueblo to organize events related to American culture both off and on campus. These events give international students a sense of being welcomed and a chance to experience American culture.
At 5:30 p.m. the Family and Friends members welcomed the international students and socialized with them. Once everybody was seated, three Family and Friends volunteers presented a history of thanksgiving to the students.
The volunteers served the customary turkey dinner, along with the proper description of the food, to all students who attended the event.
Ryad Mahmoud, a CSU-Pueblo student from Saudi Arabia, is spending his first year in the U.S. and had no idea what Thanksgiving is about.
“I did hear from a couple of friends that there will be a week off during the last week of November, but had no idea what was the main reason behind this holiday is. The Thanksgiving presentation made at the event was very informative,” Mahmoud said.
International students were learning about American culture at this event, but they were also encouraged to share the famous festivals celebrated in their home countries.
Since the international students celebrated Thanksgiving the week before the actual holiday, they made big plans to visit major U.S. cities and sites over break.
“I am visiting California, Los Angeles and Las Vegas during the Thanksgiving break along with my fellow South Korean friend. It’s my first time visiting these places and I am very excited,” said Jae Kyun Ming, a student from South Korea at CSU-Pueblo.
A large crowd of international students head to Las Vegas, New York City and different parts of California and Florida.
“I am visiting New York City during Thanksgiving break with my French and Dutch friends, and really looking forward to visit the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Kevin Debien, a student from France at CSU-Pueblo.
Not all of the international students some international students decided to stay in Pueblo, but decided to stay and use the break to catch up on homework and study for finals.
“I love thanksgiving break, as it is an awesome break from classes during which the brain can calm down and get ready for the final wave of exams,” said Nirman Jaysena, a student from Srilanka at CSU-Pueblo.
Though not traveling this break, many international students will use Christmas break as a time to travel around the U.S.
“I have so many projects to take care of that I decided to stay here and work on my projects,” said Shiva Sam, a student from Iran at CSU-Pueblo. “But during the New Year’s Eve, I am going to Las Vegas.”