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International students preparing Thanksgiving dinner

A potluck party

The International Development Office (IDO)’s International Student Club organised a Thanksgiving potluck celebration for international students and their friends on 22 November 2018. A potluck is a meal in which all participants bring their own homemade dishes to a party.

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International students cooking

UIC’s food lab allowed international students to bring their own ingredients and cook a meal together during the afternoon. Students were encouraged to cook dishes that are unique to their home country. Some students had never celebrated Thanksgiving before, while others were happy to celebrate away from home. Exchange-In student from the US, Anh Ly, was particularly excited to celebrate Thanksgiving since two friends from the US were in Zhuhai visiting her at the time.

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Student reflection: Anh Ly, US

“Back in the US, my friends and I have an event call Friendsgiving. In the States, most of us go home every Thanksgiving to spend time with our family but every year, we have Friendsgiving to give thanks for each other. This Thanksgiving, I wasn’t able to go home and enjoy a home cooked meal with my family.

“Instead, I spent Thanksgiving surrounded by great friends and food from different cultures. IDO hosted a Thanksgiving potluck event for the International Exchange-In students this semester. One of the departments was gracious enough to let us use their cooking lab as a kitchen. So everyone brought a different recipe from their home country.

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"We were able to eat French crepes, Korean bulgogi, Mexican pancakes and traditional American turkey. My two friends gave up their Thanksgiving holiday break with their family to come visit me in China and I am very glad IDO hosted this event because it gave them a little slice of home.

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“Afterwards, my friends told me they are glad they came to China. Everyone they have met at UIC are friendly and very welcoming. One of them likes it so much he said he wants to come back and intern here. I think IDO should host a Thanksgiving potluck every year. During the event, we all cooked together, we ate together, and we even had a dance party at the end. It didn’t feel like home was very far away that day because we were with our second family, right here at UIC.”

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Reporter/Photographer: IDO
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Marissa Furney, Étienne Fermie (MPRO)