There is still time to volunteer to host an international student or employee this Thanksgiving. Those interested should complete the form found here, by November 9.
This marks the third year for Brookdale’s Thanksgiving Dinner Host Program. Nathalie Darden, associate professor in the mathematics department, created and developed the program with Dr. Janice Thomas and Lucy Wadych-Ketley from the International Education Center.
It has grown from an initial three students in 2017. Nine students planned on participating last year, but some had to withdraw due to allergies or dietary restrictions.
“Two students have participated in the program twice, and I take that as a compliment,” said Darden.
“Two students have participated in the program twice, and I take that as a compliment.”
The program was created to share one of the holidays unique to the United States with Brookdale’s international students and employees so they can experience the traditional Thanksgiving foods served with the cultural flare from the host’s specific family origins.
The program has benefits for the international student as well as the employee. As a host, you benefit by engaging with people from another country and learning about their language, culture and customs.
Dr. Ave Latte, professor in the education department, hosted international student Karen Suazo in 2017. She said that during the experience, they discovered a strong connection between their represented countries in that Italians and Honduras both savor coffee. Suazo was excited and thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Thanksgiving Dinner host Program because she was in the USA alone and did not have any place to go for Thanksgiving. “I love this country, and I love my experience at this college,” she said in the post-Thanksgiving interview video.
“I wanted to be a part of the Thanksgiving Host Program because I thought it would be a good opportunity to share food and culture with our international student community.”
– Elana Maloney
“I wanted to be a part of the Thanksgiving Host Program because I thought it would be a good opportunity to share food and culture with our international student community,” said Elana Maloney, instructor in the English department, who hosted international students last year. “These students may be far from home or may never have experienced a traditional American Thanksgiving, and my family usually has a big, crazy meal where everyone without a place to go is welcome,” she said. “My Brookdale student guests helped put food on the table, chatted with my children (one of whom is a Brookdale student herself) and took lots of pictures of my cats and dogs. It was a fun experience.”
Lucy Wadych-Ketley, assistant director of the International Education Center, hosted two students from China, Irene Yang and Farina Wong with her family, in 2017. Wadych-Ketley said the experience enriched the holiday for her family, especially for her children. She explained that during dinner her guests and family discussed other celebrations and tried to speak each other’s native language.
A wide range of hosts is needed in order to accommodate the unpredictable needs of the student guests. For more information, please contact Nathalie Darden via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Darden at 732-224-1855 or the International Education Center via email at email@example.com or call 32-224-2799.