Hartwick College Families Open Their Homes to Students for Thanksgiving

Ana Laura Gonzalez remembers her first Thanksgiving in America.

“When I first arrived in the US, I did not have a clear idea of what Thanksgiving was and why it was an important holiday,” said the assistant music professor. “Then, my mentors and classmates made sure that I always had a place to stay and someone to share the holiday meals. It helped me understand what Thanksgiving meant.”

And this year, she’s paying that holiday generosity forward.

"Now that I have my own family and have the ability to host others, it is with pleasure that we open our home so students don't have to be alone for the holidays."

Ana Laura Gonzalez

Assistant Professor of Music

Ana Laura Gonzalez and family with Hartwick College international student guests at Thanksgiving

Miku Kasahara and Ayana Naka, both international exchange students from Japan, joined Gonzalez and her family at the Thanksgiving table.

“In Japan, we don’t have this kind of event,” said Kasahara. “I really enjoyed getting to try all these new foods and talk to new people.”

And there was plenty to try – turkey and ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and, of course, plenty of pies, including pumpkin, blueberry and key lime.

“They had deviled eggs!” said Kasahara. “I’d heard that they were very popular during Thanksgiving, but I hadn’t had them before. I really enjoyed them!”

Kasahara and Naka shared their talents and culture as well. “They taught our daughters how to make origami cranes and swans, and how to count in Chinese and Japanese,” said Gonzalez.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity for members of our community to open their homes to international students,” said Noah Goldblatt, director of the Center for Global Education. “The students get to learn a lot about American culture while Hartwick community members have the joy of sharing their traditions with valued guests.”

In all, 10 international students joined six Hartwick families at their homes to celebrate the holiday.

November 30, 2023

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