Celebrating Thanksgiving Abroad
A Thanksgiving meal in Germany prepared by Sasha and her host family
November 24, 2015 - For many AFSers, their exchange year was the first time they spent the holidays away from home. But, being away from home doesn't mean you can't celebrate while abroad. Meet Mallory, Danielle, Christian, Sasha and Lindsay who brought Thanksgiving to their host countries.
Mallory - Indonesia 2013-2014
Mallory celebrates Thanksgiving in Indonesia"I was so convinced that there was no way to prepare a traditional thanksgiving feast in Indonesia, I let it go, and told myself I was to move on from the idea of the November holiday. This, however, didn't seem quite right. Exchange was about sharing bits and pieces of my American life, and what's more American than Thanksgiving? I told my host mom how I was feeling, and she immediately took me, hopped on the back of an ojek and headed to the market to see what kind of ingredients we could find. Having been an AFS student herself, of course she was supportive of the entire idea. I was standing over a stove attempting to help my host-sister grate cheese and instructing my host-brother on how to mash potatoes in the pot in front of him. Grilled chicken was the closest thing we could find to turkey. Mac and cheese replaced the au-gratin potatoes Mom usually made back home. By November, my Bahasa Indonesia language skills weren't exactly up to par but on that night, it didn't matter. Laughing at my host dad eating rice beside his meal and seeing two cultures merge into one was unspeakably special. It may not have been the traditional Thanksgiving that I was used to, but it sure wasn't one I was going to forget."
Danielle - South Africa 2013-2014
A Thanksgiving meal abroad
Christian - Turkey 2013-2014
Christian sits down for Thanksgiving Dinner in Turkey
Sasha - Germany 2011-2012
Sasha cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her host family in Germany
"I was happily shocked when all of my German family members arrived. Apparently my host mom really conveyed to them how great of a feast Thanksgiving is because each of them came with a dish that they cooked at home. When all of the food was finally out on the table, it really did feel like an American Thanksgiving to me. I was overjoyed that I got to share this tradition with my family in Germany, and I feel that they took something from the experience as well."
Lindsay - Argentina 2012-2013
Lindsay's host family celebrates Thanksgiving in Argentina
Mallory, Danielle, Christian and Sasha brought Thanksgiving to their host countries as scholarship recipients of the U.S. Department of State funded YES Abroad and CBYX programs. Learn more about YES Abroad and CBYX, along with other scholarship opportunities, by clicking here!