Drury International Student Association hosts Thanksgiving Dinner event
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 17, 2017 — Few holiday traditions are as iconically American as Thanksgiving dinner. But for students who are visiting America from other countries, this tradition can present an unexpected cultural gap.
“A lot of international students come here with no idea what Thanksgiving is,” says Manuel Meyer, an international student from Ghana and President of Drury University’s International Student Association.
Each year, the association hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner event with the purpose of introducing Drury’s international student population to this important American tradition. This year’s event takes place at 5:30 p.m. this evening, in the Hoblit Suite of Drury’s Freeman Panhellenic Hall (campus map).
The dinner includes turkey, potatoes, pies, and other traditional Thanksgiving foods. All students are invited to attend, and ISA members hope that the experience will lead to new relationships and lasting connections among students from around the world and here at home.
“It really bridges the gap between internationals and Americans,” says Meyer. “That’s what I see as the most important part of it.”
During the dinner, students are given the opportunity to stand up and express what they are thankful for. For some participants, the moment itself is a reason to be grateful.
“It reminds us to be thankful for the opportunity to be here in America in the first place,” says Velona Tawfik, a sophomore from Egypt. “Not a lot of people have the opportunity to travel half way across the world to come and study America.”
Madeline Smith, a Vice President of Drury’s ISA, believes that American students can gain as much from the event as their peers from other countries.
“When you hear people go around the table and say the things they are thankful for you realize that it is not really exclusive,” Smith says. “Anyone can be a part of this American tradition because everyone understands that idea of having thanks for the things that they have in their lives.”