When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, several University of Kentucky students from other countries said American hospitality can’t be beaten.
Ali Salehi has been in Kentucky for only three months, but he said he has received several Thanksgiving invitations.
One of them was to a free Thanksgiving dinner on campus for international students hosted by the UK Alumni Association on Tuesday night. Salehi, a master’s student in linguistics who came here from Iran, said the event was a good opportunity to socialize and meet other students.
“People here are really nice,” he said. “Very hospitable.”
More than 400 of UK’s international students and their families were treated to the full Thanksgiving dinner, along with plenty of other culinary offerings, at The 90, a dining hall that opened last year at Woodland and Hilltop avenues, across from the W.T. Young Library.
Sara-Elizabeth Bush, program coordinator for the alumni association, said the dinner provides a means of celebration for students who are far from home.
And for some, it’s an introduction to turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
“It’s ... an opportunity to have a real Thanksgiving dinner that they may have never had before,” she said.
Ying Sun, a mechanical engineering doctoral student from China, said she loves turkey and pumpkin pie.
She attended the dinner with her mother-in-law and her 3-year-old son, Matthew Huang. Her husband, who also earned a doctorate from UK, recently took a job in Simpson County and comes home on weekends.
“We are far away from our families,” she said. “I really enjoy this event.”
She said that when she thinks about what she’s thankful for, her family, friends and co-workers come to mind. But Matthew is at the top of the list.
“He’s the best gift that I have,” she said.