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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students get first taste of Turkey Day

    A Thanksgiving dinner is served at the First United Methodist Church on Friday night. The diners included members of the International Students Association and church worshippers.
    A Thanksgiving dinner is served at the First United Methodist Church on Friday night. The diners included members of the International Students Association and church worshippers.

    Twelve turkeys, 15 pies, mountains of mashed potatoes and about 150 international UA students gathered at the First United Methodist Church on Friday to share a traditional
    Thanksgiving dinner.

    The annual event has been held for at least a decade and is put on by the Campus Christian Center, which houses five ministries, and International Student Affairs.

    “”It’s a chance to really just be hospitable to students who are here for the first time,”” said Dee Dee Azhikakath, a Methodist minister at the Campus Christian Center.

    Preparations for the dinner begin about a month in advance, Azhikakath said.

    The turkeys and pies were prepared by members of neighborhood churches, while the side dishes were prepared on site, said Ben Larson-Wolbrink, member of Presbyterian Campus Ministry, who arrived at the church at around 3 p.m. to coordinate the cooking of side dishes.

    “”We had a fluctuating team. We started out with about five of us,”” Larson-Wolbrink said. “”We just had a good crew.””

    The international students, hailing from across the globe, piled their plates with rich Thanksgiving food and learned a little bit about the American holiday.

    Many were aware of the holiday but had never experienced it.

    “”I’ve seen something like it in the movies and stuff like that, but I don’t know much about the tradition and the history,”” said Axel Eriksson, a Swedish student studying systems engineering. “”It seemed like a nice thing to meet some friends and have a nice dinner and to try the American Thanksgiving food.””

    Rebeca Diaz, a mechanical engineering student from Mexico, said some Mexican holidays, such as Christmas or El Dia de los Muertos, are celebrated with big meals, but that Thanksgiving is unique.

    “”I came to share with the international friends I’ve made and to learn a little bit about the Thanksgiving feast,”” Diaz said. “”It looks really good.””

    Fuyao Wang, a pre-business sophomore from China, was glad to get together with friends for a meal.

    “”I think it’s a very good opportunity to talk with international friends,”” Wang said. “”I think it’s very good that we can come and know more about different countries, different cultures.””

    Jun Bae, an electrical engineering graduate student from South Korea, smiled as he sat down before his loaded plate in the dining room filled with the chatter of many languages.

    Bae has celebrated Thanksgiving before but has never been able to pick just one food as his favorite.

    Instead, he looks up at the rest of the students at his table and enjoys the moment.

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