International students find homes for holidays


Photo courtesy Brenden Hutton

From left to right, seniors Guillermo Almirall, Ho Jin Hong, Brenden Hutton, and junior Kevin Yin battle against each other in online video games. Almirall, Hong and Yin stayed with Hutton for Thanksgiving break, and Hong will be returning to stay with Hutton over Christmas break.

Senior Ho Jin Hong goes long for a pass as he plays football with the American family he spent Thanksgiving break with.

Hong, junior Kevin Yin, and junior Tom Yang are all international students who live in the dorms. Over the holiday, they all stayed with senior Brenden Hutton to experience what a real American Thanksgiving is like.

“It was like having three more brothers. We picked on each other and played football together as if we were [brothers],” Hutton said.

At the beginning of the school year, Principal Madelyn Ball asked students and families to consider bringing one of the international students who live in the dorms into their home for the holiday. Every international student in the dorms was able to find a family to stay with over Thanksgiving.

“This year I stayed with Hutton and went to Annapolis to see his family,” Yang said. “This [program] is awesome. It is a really good chance to experience American life. I would prefer to stay with a family rather than in the dorms over holidays.”

Hong will be returning to stay with Hutton during Christmas break.

International students who live with host families also celebrated Thanksgiving.

German teacher Ashleigh Stall normally only hosts senior William Du and junior Leo Li, but she also welcomed sophomore Gavin Ding, who lives with Dean of Students Brian Powell, into her home over Thanksgiving break.

According to Du, they watched movies over break and went shopping on Black Friday.

For Thanksgiving dinner, they bought food from a restaurant instead of cooking it because Du said they “think that the point of Thanksgiving is to gather all the family members to hang out together.”

“This year we ordered from Bob Evans. It was their first Bob Evans experience. They were amazed that all the food could come in a box,” Stall said.

Du said that he enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving because it is “part of American culture” and “one of the goals for students who are studying in another country is to learn its culture.”

“We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in China,” Du said. However, he was “glad to be a family member of Frau Stall’s family.”

Hope Kelly is the Editor in Chief for The Patriot and