By Catherine Palmer - October 14, 2008
Thanksgiving—that quintessentially North American tradition—took on a distinctly international flavour when 41 students from over a dozen different countries crowded into the Zinck family home on Friday night. Amid generous helpings of turkey, cranberry sauce, candy corn, and pumpkin pie, they escaped the stress of midterms with a taste of true Canadian hospitality.
Emily Zinck, a student assistant at the International Student and Exchange Services office, said she’d expected most of the exchange students to spend the weekend travelling, so it was a bit of a surprise when so many of them decided to come. Fortunately, having her house “full of students eating turkey” was nothing new to Ms. Zinck, whose parents have hosted Thanksgiving dinners for international students since she was a kid. But with a group big enough to fill an entire city bus, this year’s dinner definitely set a new record.
Along with students from countries as diverse as Denmark, Malta, New Zealand, Italy, China, Senegal, Germany, Australia, Norway, USA, Spain, and England, three Canadian exchange buddies also came along to explain (and demonstrate the safety of) the new and interesting foods. The buddy program has just started up this year, and is a great way for Dalhousie students to share their local knowledge and meet students from all over the world. “We’re hoping that more Dal students will want to volunteer,” said Ms. Zinck.
The traditional Thanksgiving fare was a hit, with one student guzzling a record-breaking six pieces of pumpkin pie. All the food was generously prepared by Doretta Zinck, Emily’s mother. “My parents love students and they hate the idea of someone being lonely or homesick,” said Ms. Zinck. “A couple of students approached my mom at different times and said how nice it was to have a home-cooked meal, and that they were so grateful for our hospitality. That makes all the cooking and the preparing worth it.”
For the students, the dinner proved to be a great way to unwind after a stressful week, and an introduction to some of the tastier aspects of Canadian culture.
Catherine Palmer is a Dalhousie student from New Zealand.