Inside Stories

Giving Thanks with an International Flair

Ahead of Thanksgiving, Middlesex Community College hosted two events for international students to gather and share their experiences of pursuing higher education in Massachusetts. The events were an opportunity to bring the MCC community together outside of the classroom, while celebrating the numerous and diverse cultures that make up Middlesex.

“Our diverse, talented and hard-working students are the biggest part of what makes MCC so special and our community so strong,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We are grateful to once again be able to gather in person and offer a safe space for our students to share a meal, reflect on their cultures, and celebrate the different backgrounds and experiences every individual brings to the college community. I enjoyed both opportunities to visit with students and hear more about their stories at MCC and beyond.”

Every year, MCC’s Office of Multicultural and International Affairs hosts a dinner for international students to learn about the American Thanksgiving Dinner tradition and share a meal with each other.

“The students did a fantastic job,” said Noreen McGinness Olson, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Success. “The event was different from previous years in that the table was set up as a long family style meal, which created a more intimate feeling similar to what someone would have at home.”

This year’s celebration was run by Vanessa Heinen, from Brazil, and Scarlet Ly, from Cambodia. Those in attendance had the chance to try new foods and make new connections.

“Vanessa and I planned the event and we wanted to get all the international students connected with each other,” Ly said. “They are mostly in class and then they go home. Our plan was for them to get to know someone and then get them involved on campus.”

“It was a really good social event for international students,” said Ritta Kuong, from Cambodia.“I was able to connect to other people in the same situation as I am in. I enjoyed the food, and I never had turkey before and really enjoyed it. However, I loved the mashed potatoes the most!”

The African Cultural, Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA), and Latinos Unidos Clubs, also held a potluck celebration for the International Club in celebration of the diversity and inclusivity of student clubs at MCC. More than 50 students and employees came together to share dishes representative of their cultures and to celebrate a number of different countries and traditions.

“Great cultural food, music and dance – all this was represented at the successful potluck event hosted by the African Cultural Club in collaboration with Latinos Unidos and ASIA,” said Juliet Ndegwa, an MCC student. “Students from the affinity groups brought appetizing foods and drinks from their various cultures, and shared the recipes and heritage behind their dishes. It was a wonderful space where students were able to network and feel the sense of community amongst each other. I cannot wait for future events.

One response to “Giving Thanks with an International Flair”

  1. Ibrahim says:

    It was an awesome event on that day, and I can’t wait for another good event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *