Last year, ISSS launched our inaugural Thanksgiving Together program, where SJSU faculty and staff invited international students into their homes to share a Thanksgiving meal together. We were so excited to forge connections with over 70 students, staff, faculty, and administrators through this program. Here is what some of the participants had to say:
- “Could attend the American Thanksgiving for the first time. Had a wonderful day talking to the host family and the food was awesome.” –international student
- “The warm welcome felt like a family.”–international student
- “The best thing that I enjoyed was the ease with which I was able to connect to the host family. I enjoyed the conversation that we had during and before the dinner.”–international student
- “It was really fun to have two additional guests share our family Thanksgiving celebration, and to share this American holiday tradition.”–host family
- “It was a wholesome experience for me and my two young adults…It was their (the guests) first thanksgiving dinner and it was a pleasure for my family to host them.”–host family
This year, due to the global pandemic, we have had to re-imagine Thanksgiving Together 2020 as a virtual event. Our goals remain the same–to connect international students with the larger campus community and promote cross-cultural sharing–but the method is slightly different.
Thanksgiving Together: Virtual Edition is expanding to include American students (in addition to SJSU staff and faculty) in the role of host. Participants (hosts and international students) should register online no later than November 8, 2020. We’ll work on pairing you together, and then introduce you to each other via email before turning communication over to you and your partner. Together, you and your partner will find a time to meet online and get to know each other. We’ll provide you with a suggested agenda, including an icebreaker activity and conversation topics, but how you meet (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.) and when you meet (so long as it’s before December 1st) is up to you to decide. After you’ve met, we’ll send you a short survey to fill out to tell us how the experience went for you. We hope that students and hosts will stay in touch throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season and long winter break, as this year will likely be different (and perhaps lonelier) than what we’re used to.
Already have someone in mind to partner with? Great! Make sure that both you and your partner register online and indicate each other’s name in the space provided. International students: this is also a great opportunity to get to know a professor, staff member, or classmate! Share our Thanksgiving Together webpage or this blog post with them, and ask if they’re interested in partnering with you.
We may be doing things virtually this year, but we can still have Thanksgiving Together!