International Neighbors celebrates a multicultural Thanksgiving

Jinah Bae, a junior communications major from South Korea, explains what it means to celebrate Chuseok, South Korea's Thanksgiving. Photo credit: Taylor Sinclair

The smell of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and other yummy Thanksgiving fixings drifted through the Student Services Center as international exchange students found their way to Room 150, where they would eat and bond with one another as they learned the traditions of an American Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Around the World was put on by Chico State’s International Neighbors organization. International Neighbors is a part of the Christian fellowship on campus and has been a part of Chico State for the past 35 years.

Alyssa Read, a Chico State alumna, runs the International Neighbors program.

Read said she enjoys creating close friendships with the international students who come to Chico State, even if it is just for a year.

“There is always a flurry of students that come in and then students that leave at the end of the year, which is hard,” Read said. “I still like to keep in touch with people who I’ve developed really close friendships with.”

She loves learning about other country’s cultures and how each student brings his or her own story, she said.

“One of the students who I hung out with last year came this year to visit us and say hi before everyone went their own ways after graduation,” Read said. “It’s been really fun learning about other cultures and see how each person’s story is a little different.”

Pierre Kalmogo, a senior civil engineering major, is from West Africa. In West Africa, Thanksgiving is celebrated closer to Christmas and with a different variety of foods that are found or bought locally.

“In general, our cultures are very different,” Kalmogo said. “Over here it is dinner and family and back home it really opens up. It’s not only direct family, but extended family. All my cousins come to my house. Sometimes we have more than 100 people come.”

Yuqin Zhang, a junior computer science major, is from China.

Zhang said China does not celebrate a Thanksgiving day, so she is excited for the week off from school. She will be traveling to Denver with a friend.

Jinah Bae, a junior communications major, is from South Korea. South Korea’s Thanksgiving event is called Chuseok.

“I think it is very good because many people can share their food and their heartful minds together and thankful thinking with each other,” Bae said.

Taylor Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or @TaySinclair17 on Twitter.