Although midterms and essays are around the corner for most university students, Thanksgiving is a time of the year when many get a day off from school to put their books aside and relax with loved ones.
While many UTM students enjoyed Thanksgiving with turkey and cranberry sauce at home, others usually those who come from abroad — are unable to make it home. This is why a group of student volunteers from the International Student Resource Centre organized a turkey dinner for international students. Thanksgiving is a fundamental part of Canadian culture; it is one of those secular festivals when people of all religions and cultures of Canada get together and give thanks for the close of the harvest season, said organizer Veronica Vasquez.
In the spirit of the multicultural nature of the festival, a group of international students and their friends gathered to discuss the importance of Thanksgiving and its place in Canadian culture. The students also shared instances of similar festivals akin to Thanksgiving that are celebrated in their home country, such as Vaisakhi in India, Punjab in Pakistan and the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and other regions of Asia.
After the discussion, the students indulged in a scrumptious dinner of turkey that was offered at a discounted rate, courtesy of Food Services.
In the past, the Thanksgiving get-together was offered as a sponsor program whereby faculty, students and staff members at UTM sponsored international students and took them home for a Thanksgiving dinner. This year, the ISRC decided to take a new approach and make it a collective dinner where international students and local students can have a multicultural exchange of ideas in a big group.
Vasquez remarked that it was an ideal opportunity to teach and learn about cultures. The students were excited and loved the event. Charlie Mao, one of the attendees at the event, deemed it as a success and an ideal opportunity to interact with other students.
Lets Talk Turkey is just one of the programs the centre has planned for the year. Aiming to connect international students and local Canadian students via activities, programs and event, it is but one of the many services offered by UTM Student Affairs for the student body.
Other upcoming events from the centre are the Global Café sessions and a buddy get-together that aims to provide international and local students with a support-system and an opportunity to learn about Canadian and international cultures.