Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 18, 2016

Internation Family

MU international students form their own family for Thanksgiving celebrations

Onyeji Extends Invitation for Thanksgiving Dinner

Maddie Jo Shultz

Turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce galore. Thanksgiving is as much a holiday about tradition as it is about giving thanks. In keeping with the usual tradition of good food and a good time spent with family and friends, the community of Manchester University welcomes international students into their own families during the holiday season. International students across campus are now figuring out their plans for Thanksgiving break, which begins Wednesday, Nov. 23. Classes will resume the following Monday, Nov. 28.

For the holiday, a group of approximately 24 students plan to have a semi-formal dinner with Professor Benson Onyeji, who has extended this invitation since last year. “He is eager to host the seniors most especially,” student Marian Adeyemo said, “as this will be their last Thanksgiving at Manchester.”
Students including Tabo Chata, Charise Samuel, Tobechukwu Nwaelugo, and Arpan Paul say that their main plan for Thanksgiving is to attend this dinner. “Professor Onyeji has a long relationship with international students as many of us have taken his politics courses,” said Chata, adding that Onyeji is also the faculty supervisor for Manchester University’s Model United Nations. One of Onyeji’s primary goals is to welcome international students to take part in the American tradition of Thanksgiving. Chata said of the dinner: “I am looking forward to it.”

Some students are more concerned than others. Paul, although planning to attend the dinner at Onyeji’s house on Thanksgiving Day, admits he doesn’t really know what to do for the rest of Thanksgiving break. “Frankly speaking, I have no plan at all,” he said. “Everybody will leave campus, even other international students. But I have nowhere to go. My closest relative lives in Connecticut.” Paul points out that during the break, all of the places to eat will be closed on campus. “This place will be deserted,” he said, “[it’s] like I’m the only living person in a cemetery. You see what I mean!”
However, another popular plan among international students is to spend time with domestic students, or visit nearby cities. Mariam Ali is going to spend Thanksgiving with her roommate. “I’m going to go home with her right after classes on Monday and then spend the whole week with her and her family,” she said.
Fotini Kristuli is also going to her roommate’s house, and Henock Molla will be traveling with a friend over the holiday. Epherata Molla plans to visit family in Chicago, and Kwaku Archer intends to go to Indianapolis, not to visit family but “for fun and to relax.”

Given that this year Manchester has more international students than ever before, Michael Dixon, director of Intercultural Services, explains the main goal for Thanksgiving is to make everyone welcome and find places for them to go while places on campus are closed. “We want them to experience that American culture firsthand,” he said.