International students get a taste of Thanksgiving

Grecia Sanchez, Reporter

The Baptist Student Ministry, Office of International Programs, Office of Study Abroad, and Residence Life and around 60 volunteers hosted the third annual Thanksgiving Without Borders event so international students could celebrate the American holiday along with staff, faculty, and students accompanied by their families on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Traditional food was provided to approximately 400 people. Throughout the night, the event consisted of two back-to-back dinners, spanning from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Along with the food served, different games involving feathers and bingo were played by students and featured raffles were administered.

The BSM collaborated with volunteers from Residence Assistance, Franklin high school, UTEP’s Alpha Omega and Sigma Lambda Beta offered their help by welcoming students, serving food, and registering people for the event.

Olga Sanchez, a staff member of the study abroad division in OIP, attended the event for the first time and said she was very excited to be part of this “warming idea.”

“There was a lot of work done in the previous months. We partnered up with Housing because that is where a lot of international students live and a lot of broad students. We made flyers, we advertised the event, there was several meetings, all the food that was spot was from Luby’s and it was paid by our departments,” Sanchez said.

Last year, Thanksgiving Without Borders was hosted at the BSM building for the first time with around 280 people. This year, their goal was to double the attendance.

Around 400 registered prior to the event for a meal. Chris Smith, director of the BSM, said that there might have been more if those registered bring their friends and families.

Smith hopes that after this, international students will be able to get the experience of the traditional American Thanksgiving.

“There are some that do not celebrate that, others who don’t know what it is, so we get a little bit of a history lesson, they get the traditional food. They also have to think about what they gave thanks for and talk about that, and we have people here at the tables that actually are asking about the history of thanksgiving,” Smith said. “This is a good opportunity for them to experience America a little bit better because probably not much internationals get invited to spend it home, so we tried to offer them an opportunity like this being a home for them. “

Graduate student Shaikh Tanveer Hossain is a computational science student from Bangladesh who was celebrating for the first time his Thanksgiving dinner.

“There is a chance of meeting and mixing people and it is a very good chance of making new friends. It is a good chance for outside people to mix with local people,” Hossain said.