Like most students, Yiran Yao is studying and preparing for Thanksgiving break, but Yiran is packing for something different than most.
She is one of almost 60 international students spending Thanksgiving with an American host family.
“I feel like as an international student, you know, we live far from our family,” said Yiran, as she packed her suitcase. “So especially in the American holidays I really want to spend this special day with an American family so it can give me the feeling of home and care and love.”
The hosting program is organized by Temple’s International Student and Scholars Services. According to Martyn Miller, Senior Director of the International Student Scholars Services office, the program has been growing steadily for the past 15 years.
Miller says the administrators of the program have high expectations for the students’ experiences.
“We expect that they will not only make friends with the hosts themselves but also learn a little bit about the American culture,” said Miller. “Thanksgiving is such a uniquely American holiday that this is one of the only opportunities they will have to experience something so uniquely American.
Yiran’s host family is already making plans for her arrival. Plans include delicious food, traditional homemade winemaking, and of course, lots of family.
Yiran’s host, Paul Curcillo, graduated from Temple in 1984 and is excited to host international students for the second time.
“I just think they need to feel welcome here,” said Curcillo. “They’re coming to our country to spend time with us; they need to feel very welcome here.”
He went on to say that his family is excited to spend the holiday with two international students.
Curcillo says, “It’s just cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, and now foreign friends.”
New friends and new experiences – what better way is there to spend Thanksgiving break?
For more information on the international student hosting programs, visit the International Student and Scholar Services website.