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Thanksgiving break presents many options for international students

Campus Correspondent

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

While most students are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving break relaxing at home with family and friends, those who are too many miles away to make the trip back home are anticipating spending the week on UConn’s soon to be vacant campus.

Among those spending Thanksgiving break on campus are UConn’s international students. Some are taking advantage of the week-long break from classes to do some of the sightseeing they have not been able to fit into their schedules until now.

“I’m excited to finally discover New York City,” said Tissem Elmeoued, an international student from Paris, “I’m going to visit everything.”

Main Nguyen, an international student from Frankfurt, Germany, will also be spending a few days in New York City before heading down to North Carolina to spend her very first Thanksgiving with her host family in Charlotte.

While Nguyen is looking forward to her first Thanksgiving, she is especially excited for her first “Black Friday” shopping experience.

“In Germany, we always hear about black Friday on the news, they always show videos of people going nuts, so I really want to see it for myself,” Nguyen said. “ I don’t even care if I buy anything, I just want to take pictures and videos,” she said.

For the international students who do not have host families and other connections in the States, members of the River of Life Christian Fellowship in Tolland have offered to open their homes to those who have nowhere to go to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“I can’t imagine the challenges of language and culture change [international students] face, but food and family are universal,” said Chris Fields, a member of the River of Life’s leadership team. Fields and his family are also hosting two students this Thanksgiving.

This is the first year the River of Life Christian Fellowship is hosting students for Thanksgiving, according to the program’s coordinator Veronica Trudel. Eight families have volunteered to host students so far, and 18 students are expected to attend.

“We would love to have anyone who can’t be with their families for Thanksgiving, this includes American students,” Trudel said. “We have the opportunity to host more students if there is a need.”

International students will not be the only ones in Storrs next week; Andy Kim, a 5th-semester student from Atlanta, Ga., will be eating Wings Over Storrs instead of turkey this Thanksgiving while he spends his break on campus.

Kim says that is a bright side to staying on campus.

“I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the empty gym and vacant laundry room,” Kim said
Residence halls will remain open all week for students who choose to remain on campus, and students with meal plans can sign up for a breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day next week with the exception of Thursday, according to UConn’s ResLife and Dining Services websites.


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