Global UGRAD Students Reflect on Thanksgiving

This November, many of the Global UGRAD students had the opportunity to experience their first Thanksgiving. Below you can read some of their reflections about spending the day with friends, university staff, and their friendship families!

This year instead of repeating Season 5 episode 1 from Friends “The One with All the Thanksgivings,” I had the opportunity to experience it myself. A friend of mine from the University of Utah invited me to their Thanksgiving dinner at their home in Salt Lake City. In the car a hundred ideas came to my mind, “Can I tell jokes at the table during Thanksgiving?”; “Is there anything specific I need to wear for this occasion?”; “Who am I thanking in the first place?” Once I entered the house I could feel the warmth and coziness of a family reunion. The first thing I remember is seeing the turkey and all the food that goes along with the day, and I was like “yeeeppp, just like the movies.” The Bankhead family made me feel like I was a part of their family, like we had known each other for years. It was the feeling of warmth that I remember the most. Not just the room temperature (since it was warm inside and very cold outside), but the conversation, the smiles, and the laughs. I love how Thanksgiving centers around the principles of being grateful, thanking God, keeping family ties, and feeding others. – Jean-Claude Farah, Lebanon, University of Utah

Taking part in Thanksgiving in the U.S. was a significant experience for me to see and learn about U.S. history, its ways of celebration, traditional foods, and the reunion of families.
– Sitora Sufijonova, Tajikistan, University of Southern Indiana

I would like to share my Thanksgiving holiday with you. I was invited by Dr. Ludmi (Global UGRAD student advisor at University of Houston – Victoria) to her house to have Thanksgiving lunch with her family and the other international students. We had a good meal and played some games together.
– Yary Keo, Cambodia, University of Houston-Victoria


Thanksgiving has always been an interesting celebration to me. Whenever I hear about that day, I feel the warmth of the atmosphere. Therefore, I was very enthusiastic to witness this day. Once I gathered with other people and tried the delicious Thanksgiving meal, I felt as though I were home. I realized that it’s not just a meal, it’s more about precious moments than I expected.
– Abdelrahman Sayed Badawy, Egypt, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Being thankful is an important value in our lives because that means that we really appreciate what life has given us (or God depending on our beliefs), and that we are happy with the opportunities that come into our lives. We also appreciate the presence of some people, such as our family, because they help us to be better every day, and they encourage us to keep fighting against the adversities that life presents us. Life is like a river, because the current is always changing, it never goes through the same place twice. Sometimes the current seems so strong; at others, it seems to be just a small puddle of water. Above all, a river always maintains its course until reaching the vast and infinite ocean. Thanksgiving reminds me of this, that I have a lot to be thankful for, that life changes all the time, and we must be prepared to face this and look on the bright side.
– Herbie Castro Torres, Nicaragua, Tennessee Technological University