Photo from PCC Global Club. A student from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China answers questions about Thanksgiving for the "Eyes of the World" segment.
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The PCC Thanksgiving celebration annually serves as an opportunity for students to come together and share cultures and traditions. Organizers had to redefine the event this year due to COVID-19, creating new traditions along the way.

This year’s celebration took place on Nov. 20 via Zoom, hosted by PCC Pathways, the International Student Center, and the Global Club. It featured the newly added segment “Eyes of the World” which showcased videos from international students’ hometowns.

The Thanksgiving Celebration started 3 years ago, mainly focusing on international students. Because the Thanksgiving break is close to final exams and within the fall semester, many international students choose to stay in the U.S. instead of returning home. The purpose of the event is to create a community for international students as they spend the holiday away from home.

Before the pandemic worsened, some of PCC’s international students returned to their home countries. The “Eyes of the World” videos were created by PCC students who are now studying from other countries, such as Japan, China, Peru, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

“It’s for the students who are unable to return home to catch glimpses of the home that remind them of their family,” Micheal Jones, the International Students Advisor and host of the event said. “We thought that family and friends are some of the main themes and elements of Thanksgiving so we wanted to share these videos with our students.”

Kevin Law, an international student from Taiwan who studied Communication at PCC for a year and a half, attended the event and found friends who shared his deep love for the food culture in Taiwan’s night market.

“I am so glad that my home country, Taiwan, was showcased in the event,” said Law. “Just by seeing the street already made me homesick, and when people started to talk about the food from the night market, I really [wished] that I [was] in Taiwan right now. My favorite night market is Feng Chia night market, which was also mentioned during the event. It is a pleasure to see something from my country being discussed by so many people from different countries, I hope more people can see the beauty of Taiwan.”

A video clip of a market in Kaifeng, a city in the province of Henan, China, provoked a childhood memory for attendee Chen Fu, a sophomore at PCC majoring in Computer Information Science.

“The supermarket in the video is almost the same as the one I used to go grocery shopping with my mom,” said Fu. “The memories of those days needing to wake up early to go to the morning market are still vivid for me, the smell of spices, countless vegetables in different shapes and colors, and the figure of my mom. It would be nice to show my gratitude to her face to face in person during Thanksgiving, unfortunately traveling by airplane seems to be too risky under the current circumstance.”

Travel presents risks as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb, but with the help of Global Club, attendees of the Thanksgiving Celebration were able to travel virtually through the “Eyes of the World”.

Although his hometown didn’t show up in the event, Luigi Yonamine, a freshman international student from São Paulo, Brazil enjoyed taking a quick tour around the globe.

“I think the street views of the city tell much about the country,” said Yonamine.“It was a special and personal experience to see people’s hometowns through their eyes. I like those videos sharing a slice of their life because they allowed me to get a better understanding of people’s circumstances and realities.”

This year’s Thanksgiving Celebration was different from previous years as the newly added theme “Eyes of the World” allowed PCC’s international students to participate in the traditional American Thanksgiving and see the globe through the eyes of their peers.

Law appreciated the chance to see the world through international students’ point of view.

“We get to know what happens in other countries, not just in the U.S.,” Law said. “It is quite positive and comforting knowing some countries are in good control.”

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