On Saturday evening, the International House (I-House) Davis was host to about 100 guests celebrating an early Thanksgiving, including many international exchange students experiencing the American tradition for the first time.
The evening featured a traditional Thanksgiving dinner provided by various organizations within and around Davis. Guests were then invited to read out what they were thankful for, with contributions ranging from unconditional family love to the flat conditions in Davis that enabled easier cycling.
All who attended thoroughly enjoyed the evening, helped in part by the intimate seating arrangement and atmospheric lighting, which contributed to a festive and memorable ambience felt throughout the I-House.
The event was coordinated by Elisabeth Sherwin, executive director of the I-House, who was very pleased with the outcome of the evening.
“It’s been a great success. I love sharing this American holiday with others,” Sherwin said.
The evening helped international students to embrace a cornerstone of American culture and tradition, according to those who attended the event.
“I think [the event] is important for visiting students so that they have some conception and understanding of Thanksgiving. It’s not a religious holiday, so it’s for everyone,” said Karena Schmitendorf, an instructor for an English conversation class and attendee of the event.
Many international students present at the dinner agreed.
“Exchange students don’t have the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving. I don’t have close family here, so it’s important to have this opportunity,” said Hyewon Suk, a third-year music composition major on international exchange from South Korea.
The Campus Rotaract Club (CRC) of Davis assisted with the event. Volunteers were more than willing to help out and appreciated the opportunity to give back to the community.
“You meet great people and I love helping out. Everyone has different stories to tell from all over the world. It’s a great environment,” said Bill Quach, a fourth-year bioscience major and vice president of the CRC.
— Joe Steptoe