A score of Northeastern’s international students ate their first Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday afternoon in the Curry Student Center Ballroom at the International Student and Scholar Institute’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
About 200 students, faculty, and staff registered for the dinner, according to Amy Wooldridge, the ISSI’s assistant director for international student programming.
“We are very happy to share in this traditional American holiday, where we usually get together with friends and family and enjoy food and fun,” Wooldridge said in her opening remarks. “We hope you enjoy it.”
More than 7,500 international students from 140 countries are currently enrolled at Northeastern. The ISSI serves as a resource for those students and works to enhance the university’s international character.
In addition to feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, and other traditional Thanksgiving eats, attendees were served a Thanksgiving history lesson by William Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History.
“Giving thanks is as old as humanity,” Fowler said in his remarks. “Every culture for thousands and thousands of years, on one occasion or another, has paused to give thanks.”
Fowler gave a presentation on the Pilgrims’ journey in 1620 from England to Plymouth, Mass., where they learned trades from Native Americans that helped them get through the winter. In return, the Pilgrims held a feast to give thanks to the Native Americans.
Fowler also noted that Thanksgiving did not become an official federal holiday until President Abraham Lincoln’s declaration in 1863.
Daniel Ravikumar, ME ‘15, is from India and had never experienced a Thanksgiving meal before Tuesday. He knew Thanksgiving was a time when family and friends got together, but he didn’t know the story behind it, saying that he “didn’t know it had so much history.”
Everyone who attended the dinner received a recipe for cooking a turkey. An inspired Ravikumar said he and his friends were going to try and cook one on Thursday.