Thursday, December 4, 2014

SAIS Europe Celebrates Thanksgiving

Students, friends, and faculty members gathered last Saturday to feast, drink, and celebrate Thanksgiving.

Director Plummer kicked off the festivities with a lighthearted speech on the history of the holiday. In the United States, the President "pardons" a turkey, sparing its life and ensuring it can spend the rest of its days roaming free on a farm. 

In the spirit of this tradition, Plummer also "pardoned" a turkey; given the difficulty of managing a live animal in the auditorium, M.A. student Lindsay Cejka volunteered to play the part and dress in a turkey costume.

The school provided the oven-roasted turkeys -- a rare commodity in Bologna -- while students volunteered to supplement the feast with an assortment of mashed potatoes, vegetables, salads, casseroles, and desserts. With the Macy's Day Parade projected in the background, the scene was nothing short of a traditional American Thanksgiving.

For many students at SAIS Europe, especially those from outside of the United States, this was either their first time celebrating Thanksgiving or celebrating it away from home. 

Martina Improta, a student from Italy celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time said the experience was great. The strangest aspects of the celebration were the early eating time and mashed potatoes -- a dish not usually eaten in Italy.

Anthony Gonzalez, an M.A. student from Oklahoma, shares his thoughts below about spending the holiday away from home:

This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family. It's only natural to feel homesick, especially during the holidays. Though I'm an ocean away from my loved ones in Oklahoma, SAIS truly made me feel as if I'd never left home. Sometimes it's events like the Thanksgiving dinner that make you realize just how close you've become with your peers here in Bologna. SAIS is my international family.

The Movember competition
Following the dinner, students participating in Movember -- a month-long campaign raising awareness for men's health issues -- donned their mustaches on stage in a competition where other students voted by donating money to their favorite look.


Chelsea Boorman
SAIS Europe 2015

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