Thanksgiving by UGRAD Alumni, Stefan Bognar and Jovana Zivkovic

Thanksgiving story Stefan Bognar UGRAD Alumni 2013/2014 

Thanksgiving is one of the most American holidays, something to be celebrated with your family and a plethora of food. However when you’re an exchange student, your family is a few thousands of miles away, which makes the celebration a bit difficult. But the exchange students were clever and they decided that they can be their own family and spend the day the American way.

Amanda, one of my friends, was kind enough to invite a group of international students to her lovely home in Jefferson City, MO, the day before Thanksgiving.  She said that it was in the spirit of Thanksgiving to invite you over for dinner if your family was not close. It was an opportunity to see and experience some of the traditional customs. That night we set up a bon fire and made s’mores.  It was the best day before Thanksgiving I could have imagined.

I spent The Thanksgiving day with my friend Tiffany and her big, loud family. They tried making me feel at home as much as possible. They even asked if I could prepare a Serbian dish to add to their traditional meal plan, so naturally I resorted to the simplest option I knew of – the Serbian pancakes. They turned out to be a blast and I ended up making them for Christmas as well. We ate the turkey and the pumpkin pie, and I was even a part of their annual family portrait. Everyone was talking about what they were thankful for and I realized that I was tremendously thankful for having an opportunity to experience something as wonderful as this exchange program. 




Thanksgiving story Jovana Živković UGRAD Alumni 2011/2012

I met Ashley on the first day of school. Soon enough we discovered our shared passions for books and movies and driving around while endlessly shuffling music on Ipod. Needless to say we soon became very good friends so I was looking forward to spend my first Thanksgiving with her family when she invited me to join her during holidays.  

It took us couple of hours on the highway to get to this small town, just at the border with Canada, a kind of place it takes you 15 minutes by car to your next neighbor and 30 to the closest supermarket. To me, it seemed vast, quiet and beautiful.

I remember the warm and welcoming atmosphere, watching Christmas movies (yes, Christmas movies J) on the cable with Ashley and her mum and long talks over dinner with her dad. We spent Thanksgiving day at her grandma’s house where so many people came in the meantime. I think I was the only person not related to anyone there but I didn’t feel like a guest. I loved the fact that I was able to be part of something so utterly American as Thanksgiving and that I happened to spend it with these good and dear people.

Whenever people mention Thanksgiving, I can’t help but recall the coziness of their lovely home, amazing homemade coffee in the morning and that overall feeling of being grateful for having a true friend. 

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