Every year, thousands of Yale students leave campus for the November recess to reunite with friends and family, enjoy a break from classes and celebrate Thanksgiving. But for the few who remain on campus — many of them international students — events hosted by heads of college, cultural centers and other student organizations offer an opportunity to join in the festivities, even while still at Yale.
Head of Silliman College Laurie Santos and her husband hosted a homemade Thanksgiving dinner for students in the Silliman College House.
“Thanksgiving with my SilliFamily is the best,” Santos said. “It was also fun to get to introduce international students to their first American Thanksgiving meal.”
Santos told the News that she hosted 35 people for the holiday with the help of her service assistant Cara Vo, Silliman operations manager Serio Gonzalez and graduate affiliate Vlad Chituc ’12 GRD ’23. Similarly, Davenport students joined Head of Davenport College John Witt for a turkey dinner in the college house.
Head of Timothy Dwight College Mary Lui told the News this was her third year hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at the college house. Lui said she hoped she gave the students who attended — of whom, she said, about half were international — “a sense of home.”
Some cultural organizations, such as the Asian American Culture Center, also offered Thanksgiving meals for students sticking around on campus for break.
“The AACC dinner was great, and I was certainly glad to have the opportunity to eat the sort of food I ate back home, even if I couldn’t actually be home for thanksgiving,” said Malak Khan ’21, who also attended Timothy Dwight College’s Thanksgiving event. “Both the AACC and TD have worked really well to help foster the sense of belonging here at Yale for us international students through events such as these.”
In Pauli Murray College, students assembled for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner in the college buttery and went to a Chinese restaurant with Head of College Tina Lu the next day.
Benjamin Franklin College held a Thanksgiving meal for more than 30 students in the graduate club. According to Head of Jonathan Edwards College Mark Saltzman, JE students also attended the dinner in the graduate club and were welcomed into the college house for pie and hot chocolate afterward.
In Ezra Stiles College, about 20 students joined their head of college, Stephen Pitti, for a dinner at John Davenport’s, a restaurant in the Omni Hotel. Berkeley, Morse and Trumbull colleges also invited their students to the Omni Hotel for a buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner. Head of Berkeley David Evans said the event was “not unlike an extended family gathering,” noting that some college staff members came with family, and one student’s mother even attended.
“Trumbull has gone [to John Davenport’s] before; each year I ask for student reviews, and each year the reviews of the John Davenport buffet are good, so we’ve gone back,” Trumbull Head Margaret Clark said. “I saw other residential colleges there this year too — I think it’s a popular choice.”
Morse Head Catherine Panter-Brick told the News she was not able to attend the festivities because she was travelling in Jordan for research work. But she added that, as someone from Europe, where Thanksgiving is not usually celebrated, she appreciates the festivities at Yale.
For international students who chose to spend the break with friends who live nearby, the occasion was similarly exciting.
Some international students got a taste of Thanksgiving away from campus, at friends’ houses across the country.
“I had a wonderful time,” said Bohan Lou ’20, an international student who celebrated Thanksgiving at a friend’s house in Long Island. “I wanted to experience an American Thanksgiving and it was everything I expected and more. There were fall colors, a huge turkey, casual football with cousins, crossword puzzles with relatives and even an eccentric aunt.”
Rohan Subramanian ’20, whose parents live in Delhi, said this was his first time away from home for Thanksgiving and that attending a friend’s Thanksgiving in Brooklyn gave him his first “all-American” experience of the holiday.
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