Luis Janko, a junior from Croatia, came to SJU without ever having a Thanksgiving feast. 

“I really enjoy Thanksgiving because everyone just welcomes you as a part of their family.”

Thanksgiving is an American staple. It means food and a long-awaited break for college students. But, what do international students think of this holiday? 

We asked four SJU students from three different continents what they thought. When senior, Aleena Bobadilla, explains Thanksgiving to her relatives from the Philippines, they say “What? You should be thankful every day!”

Giving religious thanks for the blessing of harvest draws history from many cultures and religious traditions. The American holiday itself draws from a harvest feast shared between English Pilgrims, who emigrated to this land, and Pokanoet Native Americans. This historical event is commemorated yearly through large meals among families… and football.

This, of course, is not a universally celebrated event, and the food served may not even be available in other countries. So, for students who are not American, this convention may seem strange. Flying back home is usually not worth it for international students, between a short trip and expensive airplane tickets.

Senior Dan Tan from Sydney, Australia says he always spends Thanksgiving with friends from school and their families. He loves the food and the fact that we begin eating at 3 p.m.

Bin Bin Mo, a senior from Zhuzhou, China, says she doesn’t know much at all about the holiday, but she likes that it is a time to be with friends and family.

“I think Thanksgiving is very warm. It’s a family get-together and a very emotional time.”

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