What to Expect at Your First American Thanksgiving

American Thanksgiving for International Students

Thanksgiving in Host Family California

Turkeys, pumpkins, and Fall colored leaves….oh my! It’s almost time for American Thanksgiving, and to you as international student staying with your host family this may only signify a welcomed break from classes but here in America it is so much more!

American Thanksgiving is a non-religious holiday that is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. It is a beloved tradition that roots back to the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621 that was a 3 day feast celebrated by the early American settlers referred to as Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag Native Americans, to celebrate and give thanks for that year’s harvest.

Now it is a time to gather with your host family and friends to enjoy a feast and take time to reflect on what we are thankful for. This usually involves a large turkey and familiar side dishes that usually consist of things such as mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, green bean casserole, and it wouldn’t be complete without a slice of pie. Pumpkin or Pecan are holiday favorites. In some families the preparation of the meal is half the fun, so don’t be afraid to jump in and help!

So a whole day based around a turkey and other lovely foods, you say? While the day is centered around the feast, fun and togetherness is a huge part. Traditionally many families will take the time to tell everyone what they are most thankful for. And most families who have a TV in the home with make sure to catch the American Thanksgiving Day Parade and a football game or two. I hope you are able to take part in this delicious holiday with your AmeriStudent host family, and that it will become one of your many favorite memories from your year abroad.

The students who are studying abroad at the U.S may get unfamiliar with this tradition at their first year with their host family, so preparing and being familiar with the American culture before your staying would help you to easily adjust with the new culture and tradition you may experience.