Contributed by the Public Relations Club
Photo by Noah Gecelovsky
Approximately 60 international students were treated to a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner with all the festive fixings and get a chance to meet Santa on December 14.
Students in St. Clair College’s Public Relations Club teamed up with local restaurant The Harvest Table to host the free holiday feast.
The event featured lots of merry fun to get everyone into the Christmas spirit, including carolling, photo ops with Santa, and stockings filled with goodies provided by local sponsors for each attending student.
“I’m alone here with no family, so this was a great evening for me,” said Rounak Ibne Akhtar, a 24-year-old student from Bangladesh. “Now, St. Clair is my family, so this was a nice bonding experience. And it was nice to celebrate Christmas like Canadians do, because back home it’s very different, with only a small community that celebrates this holiday and in a much smaller way than they do here.”
The event was open to international students studying at St. Clair College’s downtown campuses.
The dinner featured turkey with traditional trimmings and sides, along with lots of sweet treats, like pumpkin pie, for dessert.
“We wanted to share our traditions with people from other countries,” said Liana Giles, who owns The Harvest Table with her husband, Ron. “Since most students will be spending time with their families, this gives the international students a feeling of belonging to a sort of extended family.”
International students in the area are generally far away from home during the holidays. Even if they do not typically celebrate Christmas in their culture, it can be a lonely time of year because everyone around them is gearing up to spend time with loved ones, said PR Club President Glen Bacarro. The event filled that void, and created a warm and supportive experience for those students whose families are far away.
“The room was filled with laughter and students yelling things like, ‘Pass the potatoes’, with Christmas tunes in the background and the jolly man in red himself mingling in merry fashion,” said Bacarro. “We wanted the students to feel the spirit and magic of Christmas that most of us are so familiar with here in Canada.”
The Harvest Table is located inside The Market Square at 2109 Ottawa Street. Owners Ron and Liana are always looking for ways to give back and support the community. They are known for successfully organizing the Dancing with the Local Stars events at Caesars Windsor for several years.
International students were also scheduled to enjoy a weekend performance of St. Clair’s Christmas show, staged by Music Theatre Performance and Entertainment Technology students at the Centre for the Arts – coupled with a banquet staged by the college’s administration.
See many more photos in "Piles of Pix" at http://stclair-src.org/news/piles-of-pix/public-relations-club-ho-ho-hosts-international-students-christmas-banquet