A taste of turkey: ISSS holds Thanksgiving dinner for international students

students, faculty, and community members gather in the Shriver Center to eat a Thanksgiving dinner

A taste of turkey: ISSS holds Thanksgiving dinner for international students

By Rachel Berry

It was a week before the holiday, but the Shriver Dolibois room was transformed into a Thanksgiving feast. Dozens of circular tables filled the room, which was occupied mainly by international students and community members. For some, this was their first time eating a Thanksgiving dinner.

International Students and Scholar Services hosts this dinner every year as a way to engage with the community and share American traditions with international students.

“It’s a chance for us to just thank the international students that bring a lot to the community … and also promote some of those community-international student interactions we love to see,” said International Student Coordinator Dan Sinetar.

The dinner helps to celebrate campus internationalization, which was especially pertinent this year as Miami University recently won the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

students take food from a buffett lineFor graduate student Suhi Mehzabin, an international student from Bangladesh, this was her first time eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Mehzabin was excited to try all the food but particularly liked the cranberry sauce and stuffing.

“It’s important to connect us to US culture,” Mehzabin said. “It’s hard to get the opportunity to get involved with such events on our own.”

For community members, the event provides an opportunity to connect with the international students and share part of American culture.

“I think anytime that you can sit down around a meal and talk to people and really get to know each other and relax, it’s a good way to get to know everybody,” said Miami employee Karen O’Hara.

The room filled with chatter and laughter, and some people even invited the students to their homes for Thanksgiving.

This year, ISSS also introduced the Donald Nelson award for international student support. Named after a man who spend 42 years at Miami working on international student programming, it will be presented each year to someone going above and beyond to assist international students.

This year, two people won the award: Jennifer Thach, graduate school international admissions coordinator; and Aaron Bixler, senior associate director for international enrollment.

“We want every office to be internationalized and for international students feel comfortable and supported when they interact with everyone on Miami’s campus,” Sinetar said.

Learn how impactful the ISSS thanksgiving dinner is.

Read the story of a friendship forged at last year's event.

Check out other events from the Global Initiatives office.

Throughout the year, Global Initiatives plans various cultural events to celebrate diversity within the Miami community.

Learn More