UCSD invites families to host international students for Thanksgiving

By Ashley Mackin

After the success of its inaugural Thanksgiving Exchange last year, UC San Diego is seeking La Jolla families to host international students on Thanksgiving Day. International Center Director Dulce Dorado said familes can host as many students as they like. “It could be as simple as inviting them over for the meal itself ... or it could be for the preparation of the meal, too. Depending on the family, students could spend a few hours or an entire day,” she said.

The students sign up with the International Center if they wish to participate and families interested can do the same. As of press deadline, 50 students are signed up, and 20 families have agreed to host.

“(International students) participate in their classes, but what they are really looking for is to engage with American families and learn about our culture. What better way than to be invited to an American home?” Dorado said. Her family hosted two students last year and are again inviting students into their home. The benefit for her three children — ages 4, 10 and 12 — is “exposure to different languages ... and to develop cross-cultural sensitivities.” Lisa Shaffer, a lecturer at the Rady School of Management and a repeat

host, said she had a similar experience with her family, four daughters, ages 21- 31. “They find it interesting and fun to meet people around their age from other countries,” she said.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year and very American, as a tradition, so I think it’s great to share it with others.”

Last year, Shaffer took in two students, one from China and one from Korea, and brought them to her church in Solana Beach for their Thanksgiving Potluck.

“Both girls said they had never had any of the foods before; they seemed to like it because both went back for seconds.”

Dorado added, “For a lot of students who participate, this is their first time away from home and it’s a great way to share cultural experiences.”

To participate, visit

How to Host:

■ E-mail

■ List name, how many students they are willing to have and if they are willing to pick up the students from UCSD. If you can’t transport students, note the nearest bus stop to your home.