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Foreign Student Series: Thanksgiving in the US

College and universities may arrange for students far from home to spend the holiday with local families. Part 12 of our series. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Americans traditionally gather for a large holiday meal with family and friends. Most schools are also closed Friday for Thanksgiving break. Some students get all week off.

So where does this leave international students? We asked a few colleges and universities around the country for this week's report in our Foreign Student Series.

In the Northeast, Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, has twenty-nine international students this year out of a student population of about eight hundred. Dick Weis is the director of international programs. He says teachers and coaches invite international students to their homes for Thanksgiving. Professor Weis is having six or seven at his house for the holiday.

In the Southeast, Lelia Crawford is director of international student programs at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She says school groups organize meals for the more than one thousand five hundred international students at Emory.

Local organizations also get involved, like a group called the Atlanta Ministry with International Students. It arranges for students in the Atlanta area to celebrate Thanksgiving with American families.

The group also has a program called Christmas International House. International students can spend the long winter holiday with families in other parts of the United States.

In the Midwest, Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, has more than one thousand students. Fourteen of them this year are from other countries. International student adviser Nadia Sifri says they are connected with local host families when they first arrive. The families provide a home away from home, she says, and they generally invite the students to spend Thanksgiving with them.

And in the West, Bob Ericksen heads the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA has more than five thousand international students, and he says they can enjoy not just one but three meals for Thanksgiving.

His office and the Study Abroad Office have a dinner before the holiday. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, local families bring food to a park to share with international students. And that evening, the students can go to another Thanksgiving meal held by a service fraternity.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Students Series can be found on the Web at I'm Steve Ember.