Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated national holiday in the US. The holiday originated back in November of 1621 and has changed a bit since then. As its name states, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks to the people and blessings in your life. Usually, families gather, eat, celebrate and give thanks to each other during the holiday. However, not everyone will be able to go home to celebrate this weekend with family. Luckily, there are many ways international students can celebrate Thanksgiving.


 1. Go Home with a Friend

This is one of the best ways to experience a true Thanksgiving holiday dinner. If you have any friends with family close by, within driving distance, ask them if they are planning to return home for the holiday. In many cases, once they hear that you don’t have any set plans they will invite you to join. Just be aware that these events can be large and include family members from all sides of your friend’s family.


2. Host Your Own Thanksgiving Dinner

Many students, both international and domestic, will not be able to return home for the holidays. See if any of your friends are staying on or near campus during the holiday. If so, see if they want to have a Thanksgiving dinner with you. If you are on a budget, make the dinner a potluck where everyone brings a dish to share. Or you and your friends can chip in to buy a Thanksgiving dinner from a restaurant or a grocery store.


3. University Thanksgiving Programs

Some universities have programs designed to help international students experience Thanksgiving. Some have programs that connect international students with families they can celebrate Thanksgiving with, while others universities may host a Thanksgiving dinner for international students or for their students in general. Check with your student advisor and/or student affairs office to see if your school has anything planned for Thanksgiving.


4. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Thanksgiving is also a day to give back. Many people across the US will be volunteering at soup kitchens to help feed the less fortunate during the holiday. While it is not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, it is a great way to celebrate the holiday with other thankful people. Just make sure to speak to someone at the kitchen or volunteer organization beforehand. While they appreciate the help, having too many people volunteer can be difficult as well.


Thanksgiving is a holiday that is most memorable when celebrated with friends or family. So, don’t just sit around by yourself. Make plans with some friends to celebrate the holiday together. Just remember to count your blessings and give thanks!


By Ashleigh Cue