Out-of-state, international students make alternative holiday plans

Out-of-state, international students make alternative holiday plans
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Caroline Smith | Staff Reporter 

For some students, Thanksgiving break is a time to go home to their families, sleep in their own beds, and eat as much of their mom's home-cooked food they can get their hands on. However, due to the brevity of time off from school, many students have to trade the familiarity of their homes for a new take on holiday traditions.

Taylor Cassar, a sophomore majoring in marketing, will be spending Thanksgiving Break with her friend in Charleston, South Carolina instead of returning to her family in San Diego, California She has mixed emotions about her first Thanksgiving away from home.

“It’s just kind of weird—my favorite food is our Thanksgiving food, and my friend is part Japanese, so we’re just going to be doing a totally different Thanksgiving,” Cassar said. “I’m so excited. I think it will be really cool to see how somebody else does Thanksgiving, but also, I want my green bean casserole and the things that I’ve had my whole life.”

Her family has an optimistic viewpoint about the situation.

“[My parents] are really just thankful that I have such a great friend that will take me in because it’s really awesome that she is letting me hang out with her the whole time,” Cassar said. “They’re obviously sad. They’ll miss me, but they’re like, ‘I’m really glad you’re spending it with someone that we trust.’ They both love her, and they know that I’ll be happy.”

Much like Cassar, Kylie Lowe will be spending the holiday in an unconventional way because of her distance from home. Lowe, a junior majoring in journalism and creative media, hails from Corona, California and will spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend in Gulf Port, Mississippi for the second time. 

“I had Thanksgiving with his family last year, so I’m excited to see everyone again,” Lowe said. “I’m pretty close with his cousins and his grandparents and his parents, so I love his family, and it’s fun to see how other families do things.”

On the other hand, she'll miss spending the holiday with her big family.

“[I'll miss] my mom and her cooking,” Lowe said, “I have a really big family, so I am going to miss a chaotic Thanksgiving. His family is a little more calm because they don’t have as many people, and I have a ton of people in my family, so I’m going to miss that.”

Not only does UA attract students from far-away states like California, it is also home to students from across the world. Oreoluwa Agede, a freshman studying chemical engineering, came to Alabama from Nigeria. This year's Thanksgiving will be her first. 

“I don’t’ know what I’m doing [for Thanksgiving],” Agede said. “I think I might just go to a friend’s place — she invited me to her place for Thanksgiving. In the movies, you just eat stuffing, so I don’t know what to expect.”

Georgia Murphy, a junior majoring in advertising, made her way to Alabama from Brisbane, Australia. Thanksgiving was not a holiday she celebrated until moving to the United States. She's only experienced the American holiday once before. 

“I think it’s nice,” said Murphy. “It’s nice to just break up the semester a little bit and go home and have a bit of a break. It seems like a nice tradition. I probably need to be more educated about the backstory. I know it’s something about the pilgrims, and everyone sitting down — hopefully no one was murdered.”

She will be traveling home with her friend to Florida for Thanksgiving. Murphy will not be eating the traditional Thanksgiving food staples, but she is excited about the meal nonetheless.

“There’s a small hitch in that I am vegan, so I’m excited for the steamed vegetables and some bread and potentially creating some sort of vegan option,” she said. “But, yeah, I’m excited for a home-cooked meal.”

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