International students get a taste of Thanksgiving


Area families reach out to share traditions

By Kathy Day

For years families have invited servicemen and women into their homes for the holidays. This year, many are playing host to international students from UCSD.

For the first time, the university is reaching out to their many students from other nations to show how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. As of press time, about 30 families have volunteered to host nearly 70 students.

The families, many of which have ties to UCSD are from many communities.

Among them are Pati and Jeff Brady, who are planning to add six students to their already large gathering, Jeff Brady said.

With family, including their four children who range from 9 to 17 years old, and friends, he said, “adding a few more is not a problem.”

Pati, who is a family practitioner at UCSD and is Brazilian, received an e-mail sent by campus officials inviting volunteer hosts to raise their hands, with the idea that it would be a good way to introduce the students to American Thanksgiving. As of last week, the students who have accepted their invitation are from Korea, Japan and China. They were awaiting RSVPs from three others.

At their Poway home, they’ll serve a traditional holiday repast, with a twist of turkey cooked on the grill,

“I’ve had good luck doing that and it frees up the oven for other things,”

said Jeff, who works at home on data for cellular phones for a Texas-based company. Lucy and Steve Eskeland of Del Mar will also share their traditional feast with four students. The first to respond are form Taiwan and Sri Lanka, said Lucy, who was an international student herself.

She used to work on campus as a post graduation researcher and now writes science books for children; her husband is a dentist whose office is on Regents Park Row near the east side of the UCSD campus.

Their gathering will be a more intimate one, Lucy sad, with just the couple, their son and the visiting students.

“We have hosted students in the past,” she added, but as part of another program.

Shelly Taskin, program coordinator for UCSD’s International Center, said in a press release the program “is a wonderful opportunity for both international students and host family members to learn more about each other’s cultures and foster new friendships.”

The campus, which had nearly 1,200 new international students go through orientation in the fall, is among the top 4 percent of American universities hosting students from other countries. Currently there are nearly 2,000 students and 2,220 scholars from almost 90 countries on campus.

“These students help broaden the diversity of the campus, but they also bring funds to the university in tough economic times,” said Lynn Anderson, dean of International Education at UCSD.

The UCSD website estimates Californians who attend UCSD should budget about $30,00 for fees, books, room and board and other living expenses. On top of that, international students pay another $22,878 in tuition.