UPEI international students celebrate Thanksgiving at Dutch Inn

For some of UPEI's international students living off-campus at Cornwall's Dutch Inn, Sunday afternoon marked a first taste of Canadian Thanksgiving. 

'This is a whole new experience for me'

Some of UPEI's international students staying at the Dutch Inn over Thanksgiving tried their hand at pumpkin carving. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

For some of UPEI's international students living off-campus at Cornwall's Dutch Inn, Sunday afternoon marked a first taste of Canadian Thanksgiving. 

There are 93 students using the hotel for off-campus housing.

With a huge demand for student accommodations, the university entered into an agreement with the inn to have rooms reserved for UPEI students. 

A number of international students took part in pumpkin carving on Sunday. For some it was their first time.

"This is a whole new experience for me," said Alexander Chang, a biology student from Venezuela.   

For international student Alexander Chang, Sunday's event was his first time taking part in Thanksgiving activities. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Chang said while his pumpkin didn't appear to be the most glamorous, the experience of carving it was fun. 

"It's a disaster, but we get better with practice."

For off-campus adviser Emmanuel Blay, creating a sense of community at the Dutch Inn has been important. 

"[They] don't have any family to go to and things to do," Blay said. "We just decided to have a little get-together for them."

Emmanuel Blay is a UPEI off-campus student adviser. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Going home wasn't an option for Chang.  

"The advisers do everything they can to entertain us because we live far from everything else," he said.

He said he's appreciated the the opportunity to take part in some Thanksgiving traditions.

"As someone coming from a different country, you get to experience the culture of the Island, of the country, and it's a pretty enriching experience," he said. 

"Being part of these traditions makes me feel like I'm home. Like I'm new, I'm a stranger, but being introduced to these traditions makes me feel that I'm not."

Students were also given the chance to write postcards of thanks to their friends and family back home, which will be mailed by the inn for free. 

Students at the event were given the opportunity to write letters to loved ones. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Staff at the inn said they're happy to provide students with a place to call home during the holidays. 

"This is a very traditional holiday in Canada," said Li-Jean Tsai, general manager of the inn. "For us, it's a family event so when students have a four-day holiday it's nice to have something planned for them. I think they miss home."

Inn staff said they are also planning to put on a similar event for students remaining for Christmas.

The Dutch Inn's manager, Li-Jean Tsai, says she think students miss having home-cooked meals. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

More P.E.I. news

With files from Travis Kingdon


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