NYU revives Holiday Host program

via nyu.edu

The Division of Student Affairs, Office of Global Services and Center for Multicultural Education and Programs jointly inaugurated a Holiday Host Program for international students spending Thanksgiving break in the city this year.

The program matches international students with students, faculty and alumni who volunteered as hosts, giving international students a chance to experience the American tradition of a Thanksgiving holiday. Both undergraduate and graduate international students can apply as guests.

According to the website, the goal of the CMEP is to not only provide the students with a home-cooked meal, but also promote cultural exchange, urging hosts and guests to discuss their local traditions and share customs.

“The students will be given guidelines for sharing their culture,” said SCPS graduate student and programs coordinator Cecilia Garza. “And hosts will be asked to research the home countries of their guests.”

Garza said she hoped the program will form lasting connections between the host and guest. Having moved to New York from Monterrey, Mexico, last January, Garza is an international student who has never celebrated Thanksgiving.

“It will be a very nice experience for the international students,” she said.

Despite low turnout at the program’s informational sessions on Nov. 8, the organizers are confident the program will garner interest. Currently, about 40 guests and 15 hosts have applied.

“It’s a great idea, and it will mean a lot to international students to have somewhere to go [and have] something fun to do for Thanksgiving,” said Emily Epstein, an LS sophomore who lives in Puerto Rico. “I would definitely host if I didn’t live so far away.”

While the pilot year centers on the Thanksgiving experience, Student Affairs seeks to include other holidays so international students could partake in a variety of cultures, traditions and customs. Expanding the program depends on student interest and participation this year.

“This is the revival of an older host program that was discontinued a number of years ago,” said Monroe France, assistant vice president for student diversity at CMEP. “If we are able to engage up to 100 students, we’ll have exceeded expectations.”

Participants are urged to share their experiences online with #NYUHHP to generate further interest for next year. Both host and guest applications are available online until Monday, Nov. 18.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 11 print edition. Sadaaf Mamoon is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]