International students at FIU celebrate their first Thanksgiving

FIU international students enjoy their first Thanksgiving Day celebrations. (Maider Aranguren/SFMN)

Nachos. Mac and cheese. Banana pudding. Tortilla patata. 

This strange combination of food became 16 FIU students’ first Thanksgiving dinner. 

Gathered around a big table, the group of international students and a handful of Americans who didn’t fly home enjoyed a “Friendsgiving” celebration that introduced most to the holiday.

“I have never done Thanksgiving before, we don’t have this in our home country, so it was very nice to be part of this tradition,” said Kathy Taylor, a business student from England. 

A simple group chat message was enough to bring together a dozen or so in one FIU accommodation apartment.

There was no turkey at the meal but those who had never celebrated Thanksgiving before learned from the Americans. 

Brits, Germans, Spaniards and Canadians, among others, each prepared a dish from their home to bring to the feast. 

On a day when families reunite and enjoy their time together, those who live far away from home turn to friends to give thanks.

Whether it was the first time or not, this group of friends made Thanksgiving Day their own. 

“It’s a very family-oriented celebration, so it’s nice that we had a group to celebrate with,” said Taylor. 

 Giving thanks and dancing was a big part of the night. 

Lucy Hopcroft from England said, “this was my first Thanksgiving over here in the U.S., but it’s a tradition that I would happily adopt.”

Noa Aarts, who came to FIU from the Netherlands to study business, agreed.

“Thanksgiving dinner had me thinking about how lucky I am to be sitting here next to other international students and Americans who are able to teach us how to celebrate the day,” she said. 

Maider Aranguren is a junior majoring in journalism and communication at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who is currently studying at FIU as an exchange student. She has worked as a radio host and is now a content creator for a television program in Spain. She hopes to eventually become a news anchor.