Russian meat pies, Korean gimbap (seaweed rice rolls), and Bangladeshi gulab jamun (fried sweet dough) join turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie at the second annual Thanksgiving dinner for Delta State University international students, faculty, and staff. It takes place from 3 to 5 PM on Sunday, Nov. 11, on the second floor of the H. L. Nowell Student Union.
“As an international student, you are far away from your beloved family and you cannot join them for an event like Thanksgiving,” said AHM Ali Reza, a native of Jhenaidah, Bangladesh; associate professor of biology; and president of Delta State’s International Faculty and Staff Association (IFSA), which organizes the free meal. “Almost all the international faculty and staff members had to go through this situation. IFSA members feel the pain of the international students and would like to extend their love by offering a Thanksgiving dinner at the Delta State campus.”
That’s why sophomore aviation management major Hasin Sadik Karim, who hails from Dhaka, Bangladesh, attended last year’s repast and intends to go again this year. “This event helps international students, faculty, and staff members reunite together and gives a great opportunity to socialize with one another,” he said. “This also gives international students the opportunity to taste food from their home country as well as other different countries.”
Last year, approximately 80 students, mostly international, attended, Reza estimated, plus 20 or so faculty, staff, their families, and community members.
“We also will have music in the background, both local and exotic,” he added.
The feast reinforces Delta State’s record enrollment of 156 international students from 48 countries.
Food for thought
What else is on the menu? Chinese dumplings, Bulgarian snejanka (yogurt-based salad), Ghanaian jollof (one-pot rice steeped in flavors), South Asian biriyani (rice cooked with chicken and flavored spices), and Egyptian konafa (shredded, filled pastry)—and American staples such as green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and cranberry sauce.
Something else that makes the event even more delicious: all international dishes are home-cooked.
The loving touch is the point, said Sofiya Dahman, administrative secretary at the Roberts-LaForge Library. An IFSA member, she comes from Sofia, Bulgaria. “Here in the Mississippi Delta, it is very important to work toward better understanding of cultural differences and promoting multicultural programs, along with appreciating the life and traditions of the American South. I realize from my personal experience—I just packed two suitcases and traveled through the ocean—how hard it is to make a place away from home into a new home. It takes bravery, grit, determination, but most of all support and friendships. I hope that our international students meet friends for life here at DSU and I want to help them connect them with those of us who have already begun our stories abroad.”
The event is sponsored by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs, DSU Foundation, Student Success Center, Diversity Committee, and Quality Enhancement Plan.
For more information, contact Dr. Reza at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 846-4242.