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How international students spend Thanksgiving in Southern California




Hao Zhao is a student from Hunan, China. He's pursuing a PhD in economics at Caltech.
Hao Zhao is a student from Hunan, China. He's pursuing a PhD in economics at Caltech.

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California is the most popular destination for the one million international students currently in the United States. Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, we hear from some of these visiting scholars on their favorite Thanksgiving memories. 

Dimitar Mi Ho grew up in Germany, but fell in love with surfing in Southern California
Dimitar Mi Ho grew up in Germany, but fell in love with surfing in Southern California

Growing up in Germany, Dimitar Mi Ho had never surfed a day in his life. Now a PhD student in computer Science at Caltech, he loves to hit the waves.

I really fell in love with surfing when I moved to Los Angeles. And I was hoping to surf on Thanksgiving as well because there’s going to be some swell. But this year I have to visit my girlfriend’s family in the Bay Area. I’m kind of stoked about it, but apparently they put marshmallow in potato. I’m sorry, but I think that’s gross. I’d rather catch some waves!

Yinan Liu is from Beijing China. She's a currently a graduate student at USC.
Yinan Liu is from Beijing China. She's a currently a graduate student at USC.
Yinan Liu

Thanksgiving is not complete without turkey. Yinan Liu is from Beijing and is now a PhD student in public policy at USC. 

Normally, Thanksgiving breaks for me just mean that final exams are coming. But my favorite Thanksgiving was a visit to Universal Studios, Hollywood. My boyfriend and I felt bad for missing out on a Thanksgiving meal, so we got a turkey leg there. The thing is, no matter how full we were before eating the leg, we still wanted to eat more. In the end, we ate two huge turkey legs!

Hao Zhao is a student from Hunan, China. He's pursuing a PhD in economics at Caltech.
Hao Zhao is a student from Hunan, China. He's pursuing a PhD in economics at Caltech.

Not all Thanksgiving stories have a happy ending. Hao Zhao, a graduate student in economics at Caltech, recalls a run-in with the law. 

Thanksgiving breaks are not long enough for me to fly back to China, so sometimes my family visits me. I always take them shopping. One year, my cousin shopped for 10 hours at the Desert Hills outlet, buying for everyone in my family! It was so late when we were finished that I was so tired driving back that I was falling asleep at the wheel. The police pulled me over for drunk driving. No Thanks! 

Camila Fernandez moved to California six years ago from Chile when her husband started graduate studies at Caltech. Now they have an American baby named Nicanor.
Camila Fernandez moved to California six years ago from Chile when her husband started graduate studies at Caltech. Now they have an American baby named Nicanor.
Camila Fernandez

Camilla Fernandez moved to the area six years ago from Chile when her husband started graduate school at Caltech. This Thanksgiving, they got a new addition to the family. 

For our first thanksgiving here, I was really looking forward to having everything we have seen on TV: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes.  Our friend was very kind to invite us to her Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t know until we got there that she was vegan and all her friends were vegan! I was so disappointed.  Six years later, now my husband and I have an American baby - Little Nicanor - and we are trying to embrace more American traditions. So maybe this year, we’ll get our own turkey.