Thanksgiving as an international student 

Tiffany Buschman 

Features Editor 

November for Americans often consists of lots of food and family as well as the occasional football game. Specifically, when the nation is celebrating Thanksgiving. What most Americans may not realize, is that Thanksgiving is a holiday primarily celebrated in the states alone. For those whose home country is not the United States, Thanksgiving is a new concept, or possibly a slightly altered version of a holiday in their home country. So, for those who are spending this holiday season in the United States, they could be experiencing Thanksgiving for the very first time. Matthew Crivari, a former Disney Cast Member from Melbourne Victoria Australia, shares how when he was working for Disney he was able to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time with some of his co-workers.  

“The only time I have celebrated Thanksgiving was when I was working over in America. It is one of the best holidays I have ever been apart of. While I was working at Disney, I got to eat great home cooked food and enjoy and spend time with the people who have become my family. I also spent time remembering my family back home and pondering some of the things I have learned that I could bring home with me.  After going to a friend’s place and seeing and eating all of the food that was prepared I was stuffed for days,” Crivari said.  

Senior international business major Peterson Costa shares how he is excited to celebrate Thanksgiving because in Salvador Brazil where he is from, they do not celebrate anything like Thanksgiving.  

“I’m looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving especially because we do not have anything similar in Brazil. This year I am spending Thanksgiving with my amazing girlfriend and her family. I’m most excited to try Bryan’s (my girlfriend’s step-dad’s) turkey, and also to play games with her family,” Costa said.  

Costa continues to share how he thinks that Brazil should adopt a holiday to celebrate like Thanksgiving.  

 “I think Brazil should celebrate a holiday like Thanksgiving because it’s always nice to get together as a family to eat some good food and play games,” Costa said. 

While the holiday of Thanksgiving in definitely centralized around spending time with friends and family, it does have historical origins. The history channel’s website shares the beginnings of Thanksgiving.  

According to “In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers which were an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith as well as other individuals who were lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the ‘New World.’ The Mayflower eventually crossed Massachusetts Bay where the Pilgrims as these passengers are now commonly known as, began establishing a village at Plymouth. After spending a year on the the Mayflower, the pilgrims eventually moved ashore where they received a visit from a member of the Abenaki tribe who greeted them in English.

Several days later, he returned with another Native American Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.  This event is now remembered as America’s ‘first Thanksgiving.’”  

Matthew Crivari shares some of Australia’s history that he learned while growing up and believes that while Australia does not celebrate anything like thanksgiving, he believes that Australians should because the story of the ‘first thanksgiving’ is similar to Australian history.  

“I believe Australians could greatly benefit from celebrating a holiday like Thanksgiving. As an Australian, you always learn about Aboriginal culture and indigenous Australians. The First Nations people who were here before the settlers, before James Cook came down in the 1700s in Botany Bay from England with his wealth of convicts. Moreover, Thanksgiving to me is about family but most importantly it’s about giving back to those who we have wrong in the past. We have wronged Indigenous Australians for hundreds of years and recently we are trying to bridge the gap and divide between indigenous Australians and non-indigenous Australians.

By celebrating a holiday of our own similar to Thanksgiving we could Come together to create a better Australia. One that is inclusive, diverse and creative. The indigenous Australians have been persecuted for far too long and it is only right for them to stand up for themselves and for everyone to support them too. We should be celebrating the achievements indigenous Australians have made, and recognize them more for cultivating something incredible here in Australia. Celebrating a holiday like Thanksgiving in Australia could be the first step to giving back, remembering what has happened and moving forward for a better future together in harmony,” Crivari said.  

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