As Thanksgiving break draws near, many Yalies will be surrounded by food and extended family — but, for some, that is not an option.
Unlike most Yalies who find refuge from the intensity of college life at a Thanksgiving family meal, international students — many of whom are not flying home for the nine-day break — are finding alternative ways to spend their time. To provide an option for international students staying at Yale for the holiday, the Yale Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) will run its annual program, “Thanksgiving at Home.” A one-day program on Thanksgiving established in 2001, it matches each student and scholar with a host family along with one to three other students. Last year, those who took part in the program spent the day hiking, playing football, crafting with kids, playing with the family’s pets, getting to know the other students and scholars and enjoying a lively conversation around the dinner table.
“Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays that exist that is truly American, so it’s a great opportunity for our international community to experience while they are here,” said Molly Hampton, assistant director for programs and communications at OISS. “We want to make sure that they [international students] have a place to go for the holiday, and what better way than being welcomed into someone else’s family?”
Last year, OISS placed 74 students and scholars with host families. According to Hampton, the number of hosts have since doubled and, this year, the program will likely accommodate over 100 students and scholars. She told the News that OISS worked “really hard to spread the word and market the program” to the Yale community and that she hopes the program will continue to grow.
Ten international students interviewed by the News said they were not going home for break. Some intend to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving at their residential colleges.
Sarosh Kayani ’22, an international student in Pauli Murray College, said she plans to take part in a Thanksgiving Meal with the Graduate Affiliates at Pauli Murray. She added that she appreciates the efforts taken by the college to provide “support on campus.”
“Breaks can inevitably get lonely at times, so these efforts by the college make it easier,” Kayani said.
Other international students will spend the break traveling. Yuki Soga ’22, an international student, told the News that he will travel to Washington, D.C. with other international Yalies. He noted that because it is his first time living in the United States, he wants to try and explore parts of the U.S. that he has not yet had the chance to visit.
Another student, Rina Kawamura ’22, an international student from Japan, said she, too, will take a break from campus for a sojourn to D.C.
“I’m not going home for break because home is a 13-hour flight away. As much as I would love to go home, it’s just not worth paying so much and flying all that way to be able to stay for only a week,” Kawamura told the News.
Three international students said they planned to spend Thanksgiving with the families of their American friends. Others, including Aya Hall ’22 who hails from Russia, will meet their families in the United States during break.
“It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing since we don’t particularly celebrate Thanksgiving,” Hall said. “But it’s great that I get to use the break to spend time with my family.”
November recess, or Thanksgiving break, will begin on Nov. 16 at 5.30 p.m. Classes resume on the 26th.
Ayumi Sudo | email@example.com