Written for The Argo by Esmeralda Rivera
On Friday, November 18th, 2022, the Office of Global Engagement hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner in the Lakeside Lodge for both native Stockton students and international Stockton students. At the dinner, they served many of the traditional dishes one would find at a Thanksgiving Dinner, such as turkey, corn, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. The international student population at Stockton includes students from countries like India, Japan, France, and Lebanon, among others.
During the dinner, international students were able to connect with each other, as well as meet and bond with native Stockton students. Different languages were heard across the room, adding richness to the environment. Aside from the deliciously cooked food, there were board games available for the students to play together, further socializing and getting to know one another. Afterward, the students were individually asked to mention what they were thankful for, as per the Thanksgiving tradition.
Yibin Feng, the Student Advisor for Global Engagement, was one of the main organizers of the event. “We had this event for our international students right before the Thanksgiving holiday so they get the feeling of the holiday season, they get to meet the international students on campus, and I’m very happy we had a good number of international students show up. Some of them are exchange students, and they’re leaving by the end of the semester,” Feng stated.
Diana Choucair, a Lebanese international graduate student studying for her Master’s in Environmental Science, came to the event with her 2-year-old son. She enjoyed the dinner, saying she was “enjoying the dinner here at this Thanksgiving event, it was very nice, very delicious, and people here are very nice.”
The students were also informed of the newly-created International Student Organization (ISO) during the dinner, by club president Riya Goyal. “I founded this club this year for supporting international students on campus because we are so far from home, so we need some sense of community here,” said Goyal. The club currently has only 30 members, since many students are soon leaving or graduating by the end of the semester. “It’s just to create more diversity here on campus and get international students more resources on campus, helping them with jobs, getting involved. Our main mission is to promote awareness of international students and support them,” Goyal stated.