An International Student’s Holiday Experience

I’m an international student originally from India, raised on four different continents and exposed to a lot of different cultures and holidays. My family was always happy to have excuses to celebrate together.

Since moving to Canada by myself, holidays have been a weird time for me because everyone usually goes away to celebrate with their families – but I can’t always because my family is across the globe.

But on the bright side, Ryerson has a LOT of international students, and I finally decided it was time for us to celebrate these holidays together.

So, on October 12th, I not only celebrated my first ever Thanksgiving – I hosted it.

Thanksgiving GIF

Thanksgiving GIF by Leannimator

I can’t cook at all. 😇

My roommates and friends took care of the food while I took care of the table settings and decorations! I also went the extra mile by adding in thank-you cards and mentioning a few reasons I was thankful for each of them – seeing their reaction was worth all the effort.

Our Friendsgiving wasn’t traditional at all. We had more chicken than turkey, devoured apple and blueberry pie instead of the festive pumpkin pie and drank out of disposable cups and cutlery. But believe it, or not, it was genuinely one of the best dinners we had all had in a while.

Here are some comments my friends shared with me about this Friendsgiving dinner:

“As an international student, I think Friendsgiving is a great tradition to start for those who don’t or can’t celebrate thanksgiving.” – Nick Nguyen, 4th Year, Global Management Major – Vietnamese

“Although I never celebrated thanksgiving back home, the holiday season makes me homesick. Celebrating with friends made me feel a lot better as we’re all on the same boat.”Mohammad Badawy, 3rd year, Hospitality and Tourism Management – Kenyan

The comment below is from a Chinese-Canadian student, who, although he lives with his family, has never celebrated Thanksgiving before:

“I believe celebrating holidays with people is very important and I’d celebrate Friendsgiving again in a heartbeat because it provided an environment where we could just come together, thank each other, and enjoy our life stress-free for a moment.” – Stanley Sik, 4th year, Marketing Major – Canadian

New Holiday Traditions ✨

At first, I only decided to host this dinner for myself, not wanting to be alone during the holiday season. Seeing it made such a huge impact on all my friends felt magical. I’ve now decided to keep doing this for all the major holidays to come.

Have you ever celebrated Friendsgiving? What are your thoughts on it?

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