International students get a taste of American Thanksgiving

International students get a taste of Thanksgiving

Nearly 600 students joined in Goldstein Auditorium for a feast of turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish.
Published: November 21, 2022
Nearly 600 students enjoy Syracuse University’s 38th Annual International Thanksgiving Celebration Is Nov. 17, 2022 in Goldstein Auditorium
Students mingle during SU's 38th Annual International Thanksgiving Celebration on Thursday night.

Ratnakshi Mandal and nearly 600 fellow international students were introduced to a traditional American Thanksgiving feast Thursday night in Goldstein Auditorium.

“Here at SU, I look forward to Thanksgiving and the cuisine because it is new to me and not something we would cook at our house,” said Mandal, a doctoral student from India.

Syracuse University’s 38th International Thanksgiving Celebration provided students like Mandal not only with plates of stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and cranberry relish, but also the chance to watch a turkey carving ceremony on the auditorium stage.

“We have a very special treat in having the carving of the turkey,” said Ruth Chen, professor of practice in SU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and co-host of the event. “It has created a lot of goodwill.”

Syracuse staff, faculty and alums were scattered throughout the tables to introduce students to American holiday traditions.

“It’s important to have the hosts teach students the meaning of family,” said Juan Tavares, director for SU’s Center for International Services. “By passing food to one another it allows them to see how family dinner is done in America.”

Along with the meal, the event included a talk by Regina Jones, assistant director of SU’s Native Student Program and an Onondaga Nation member, and a choral music performance from the Hendrick Chapel Choir.

Meriel Stokoe, events and activities coordinator for the Center for International Services, said the dinner’s purpose is to generate conversations among students about cultural traditions in the United States and back home.

“It’s the students’ first year here in Syracuse and presumably in America,” Stokoe said. “It’s really to welcome them, make them part of Thanksgiving and explain the American culture behind Thanksgiving, while getting them all talking about festivals in their own traditions around giving thanks.”