Thanksgiving dinner: roast turkey with fixingsThe Host for the Holiday program matches local volunteers with international students eager to taste a Canadian Thanksgiving.

Program to extend holiday spirit by opening homes

Sharing her family Thanksgiving meal helped her appreciate the festivities, says Lisa Burke.

She hosted an international student last year through the Host for the Holidays program, and loved the experience.

“It was great seeing the joy in the eyes of a visitor to Canada,” Burke says. “All of our traditions that we take for granted seemed so special and important when someone who has never experienced them tells you how amazing they are.”

Organized through the International Student Centre, the program matches local volunteers with students from abroad eager for a taste of Canadian culture.

The centre’s director, Beth Oakley, says everyone wins.

“It’s a fun opportunity for hosts to make new friends and learn about another part of the world,” she says. “Our students have a chance to learn about Canada and don’t have to spend a holiday alone.”

Families can host a guest Oct. 12, 13, or 14. This year the program will operate only for Thanksgiving; previously it extended to the Christmas season as well.

“So we’re hoping everyone who wants a chance to host will register for Thanksgiving,” Oakley says.

The centre will accept applications to host through Tuesday, Oct. 1. Learn more, or sign up to receive a Thanksgiving guest, on the Host for the Holidays website.