Opening her home to students from other countries taught her that more unites people than divides them, says Beth Oakley.
She had some special guests last Thanksgiving under the Host for the Holidays program, which matches international students with Windsor families willing share Thanksgiving dinner.
“My extended family was a little reluctant at first, but since I was doing all the cooking they didn't protest too loudly,” recalls Oakley, director of the Educational Development Centre. “Once they met this lovely couple, everyone thoroughly enjoyed them.”
She says her guests – Chinese graduate students Haoran Xie and Sixue Zhang – shared their family customs and traditions, and learned about Canadian holidays in exchange.
“I felt that sharing my family with them made them miss their own families back home just a little bit less,” Oakley says, “if only for the day.”
The program, now in its third year, is currently accepting applications from prospective hosts and guests. Organizers will match hosts with guests based on a number of factors—dietary preferences, tolerance for pets, timing of the meal, and even convenience of transportation.
Find more information, including online applications, on the program Web site, uwindsor.ca/isc/host.