Canadian Thanksgiving became an international event this season due to the efforts of Laurier International. 

Laurier International hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner – for the first time in collaboration with Conestoga College – at The Sherwood restaurant in Brantford on Thursday, October 4. 

The dinner was held to give international students that attend both Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus and Conestoga College the chance to experience the holiday. “It is part of our socio-cultural programming and we want to introduce international students to some of the celebrations in Canada,” said Jenna McClymonty, International Programs Assistant at Laurier Brantford. “We also celebrate other countries’ holidays as well.” 

“Hosting such events helps with sharing Canadian culture with newcomers and for International students to learn about Canada, as well as to connect with their friends and people that are now their community,” said Teeba Alsafar, International Student Advisor at Laurier International. 

Students at both institutions were excited about the event. For some students, Thanksgiving looks a little different, while for others Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated at all. 

Either way, it was an experience that allowed the sharing of Canadian traditions with a global audience. “It’s good to experience this Canadian culture because in France, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” said Pablo, an exchange student from France studying journalism. 

“Thanksgiving means to me, celebrating my first year in Canada,” said Shashant, a first-year project management student at Conestoga College.  

“We get to try something new,” said Julia, who is in her second year of user experience design. “When I celebrate Thanksgiving back home, it is a lot smaller.”  

“Everyone is here to celebrate and it’s so fantastic!” said Alsafar. 

The dinner consisted of foods eaten at a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving table: turkey; stuffing; gravy; mashed potatoes; vegetables and cranberry sauce were among the selections. There was an abundance of food, and The Sherwood restaurant was able to provide options for people with dietary restrictions. When asked what their favourite part of the dinner was, Siddhart, a first-year project management student at Conestoga said, “the cheesecake was the best”. 

“The chocolate one as well,” added Rasika, a community and social service management student at Conestoga College. “Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy,” added Alsafar. “That’s why I’m here,” she joked. “Can’t go without dessert on Thanksgiving. Who can’t go without apple crumble?” said Ella, an international peer mentor, who gave a speech during the event on explaining the background of Thanksgiving. “I got the chance to talk about my culture,” she said. 

Laurier International has hosted this event four years in a row at The Sherwood. The event was open to everyone and tickets were sold at the Laurier Brantford International office for ten dollars. 

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