In a matter of two weeks a majority of campus will head home to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, friends and loved ones in their own homes. Meanwhile across many different ponds there are Kalamazoo Students on study abroad who do not have the luxury of coming home for the holiday.
Several countries throughout the world observe holidays similar to the American thanksgiving but very few include the traditional thanksgiving dishes of mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, or biscuits.
Although the genuine version of thanksgiving cannot entirely be celebrated abroad several study abroad programs have made plans for the groups to gather and recognize this holiday.
In France the program director has organized for the group and their host families to gather and celebrate the day during a lunch, said Mallika Mitra ’16. Additionally, Mitra and others in her group will eat out that evening.
Celebrating the day with one another is important to Mitra because it helps remind them of their families back home.
“For me it’s more about being with people we love and care about when we know that our families and friends are all together at home,” said Mitra.
In Germany, they too will gather to celebrate the holiday during a meal. Each K student is allowed to bring a guest to the event, said Grady Schneider ’16.
“Everyone’s allowed to bring a plus one, so I’m going to bring my Turkish friend,” said Schneider, “I’ll get Brian[Raetz] ‘16 to use his plus one on my friend Nick, he’s an American from a Dublin school.”
Schneider said it is important to celebrate then American holidays on study abroad because students do not typically celebrate the holidays of their host countries so it’s important and socially healthy to celebrate something.
“Holidays are just like birthday’s, they give you a nice reason to get together and have that good healthy social time,” said Schneider. “It’s a healthy thing.”
Across the world in Australia, the study abroad students also plan to celebrate the holiday together. Some of the students are even celebrating the holiday multiple times, with each other and with their roommates.
Matthew Kuntzman ’16, plans to attend the group thanksgiving but also host an additional thanksgiving so that his roommates can experience the holiday.
“I live with one other American and we are holding a Thanksgiving for the Australians, Brazilians, and Malaysians we live with for the American experience,” said Kuntzman. “Thanksgiving for my American roommate and I is one of our favorite holidays and would such a shame to miss it.”
Although some students may lack the turkey or sweet potatoes usually a part of their thanksgiving festivities, the American holiday is not forgotten, even from 1,000’s of miles away.