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Students stay on campus, start new traditions during Thanksgiving break

Many students at Boston University spend their first Thanksgiving away from their families. PHOTO COURTESY

Many members of the Boston University community rushed home to spend Thanksgiving break with family and friends — but some students opted to stay on campus and use their holiday break to start new traditions. Here’s what some of them did:

Lilian Li, freshman in the College of Communication, from Malaysia

“I went out with my friends to explore Boston. We went to Harvard Square, JFK Park and Chinatown. I couldn’t go home because it’s very far away, so I spent the break with friends. [Thanksgiving] is a holiday that I never really celebrated, it seems fun.”

Sameer Hiremath, sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, from Kuwait

“I had a friend over from New York and I took him to go site-seeing in Boston. We went to Newbury Street, we went to Uno’s, we went to the Prudential Tower, [I] showed him around campus and our friend Alex was with us. I don’t know much about Thanksgiving … but from what I do know about it, I think it’s kind of funny that you celebrate the genocide of the indigenous peoples, but I appreciate the small period of vacation we get midway through the semester.”

Ricardo Villarreal, sophomore in the College of Engineering, from Mexico

“I stayed here because I don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m not from the United States, and I wanted to explore around here. And I’m going skiing. I just hung out with friends and [on Saturday] we’re going skiing in Vermont. I just think it’s just a good day to reflect and be thankful.”

Joyce Wang, sophomore in CAS, from China

“[I stayed on campus] because I didn’t want to go New York, and I wanted to explore Boston. I went to the Museum of Fine Arts this morning, and then I went to Macy’s for the rest of the day [for Black Friday shopping]. I spent [Thanksgiving] with my friend and we just walked down the street. It was so empty, so we just took a walk around. Thanksgiving is not a new concept [to me]. It seems like the only thing I know about Thanksgiving is that people eat turkey together with family and friends, and that’s it.”

Swastik Satyam, freshman in ENG, from Germany

“I’m from Germany. It’s an expensive and long flight, so it’s not really worth it to spend a day flying when I’m only going to stay there for three days. I’m not American, so we don’t celebrate anything like this at home, but I do wish I could go home. It’s a bit depressing on campus. It’s my first Thanksgiving. I mean, I had American friends who would celebrate it, so it’s not out of this world, the size of it is different than it was in Germany. It seems fun, you know, you get together with your family, you have a lot of food, it seems nice. I just ordered Chinese and I had a group of friends over to celebrate.”

Ansh Virmani, sophomore in CAS, from India

“For Thanksgiving, I had a few friends over, we went out for dinner and we ate traditional food. I think [Thanksgiving] reminds you to appreciate what you have … I went around and I gave food to underprivileged and homeless people. I went out and tried to acknowledge and help them out, but it’s sad that it’s only one day of the year. I think that we should do it more often.”

Alexander Wong, freshman in the Questrom School of Business, from California

“Usually [for Thanksgiving], we have this tight group of family and friends, and we just go eat out or we just make a prime rib and some side dishes and we just talk and catch up. Turkey is usually kind of dry, so we usually just skip it.”

“I wish I could go home. I really miss my family … Thanksgiving is just another holiday, another opportunity to get with other family members and just catch up. It’s kind of like any other holiday. [This Thanksgiving], I Facetimed my family as they were eating dinner, which was somewhat torturous, but overall it was good. Then, I had dinner with upperclassman just to catch up.”

Juan Arango, freshman in ENG, from Colombia

“I just wanted to spend some time in the city and also, home is far and tickets were expensive, so I preferred to stay here. We don’t have any traditions for Thanksgiving, but it would still be nice to go home. [I spent my Thanksgiving] the same as any other day, just hanging out with some friends and just going around and seeing the city. We had turkey and Chinese takeout but that was it. I think [Thanksgiving] is really nice because you could spend time with your family and friends and take time to be thankful.”

Eleanor Ho, freshman in COM, from Iowa

“I was here in the dorms but my best friend, Simran. She’s visiting from Berkeley in California because her aunt lives here, so I went to Thanksgiving at her house. We’re also going to the MFA today, and it’ll be really nice to see her again because it’s been about six months since I last saw her. I think [Thanksgiving] is a fun holiday and it’s more about individual traditions … nobody really cares about pilgrims and stuff. It’s more about celebrating the people that you’re close with, eating good food and spending time with the people you love.”

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