Last Friday, November 23, the very special 10th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration was held at 2nd Floor of 1st Canteen. Each year, a broad range of faculty and students come together for this wonderful evening thanks to the support of offices across campus, including the Chancellor’s Secretariat Office, the International Affairs Committee, School of Transnational Law, HSBC Business School, and the International Student Union. As always, the weather was getting cold in Shenzhen, but around two hundred people, including PKU students (half international and half Chinese), teachers, volunteers, and staff members gathered in a warm place to celebrate the festival together. To make all this happen, the English Association and International Student Union helped mobilize a team of 30 volunteers. Now, let’s go and have a look at this wonderful night!
Before emcees Noam Peleg and Terence Wu announced the beginning of the Thanksgiving feast, everyone was asked to write about what they were thankful for. The cards were then collected into a Lucky Draw Box for the activity after the meal. The organizers also set up a WeChat group for all participants to share their favorite real-time moments as the celebration went on.
To open the 10th Thanksgiving Celebration, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Chancellor Wu Yundong gave an engaging and powerful opening toast. Chancellor Wu emphasized that among other things the holiday should be regarded as a day of giving thanks and paying respect to nature. Only through properly shepherding the planet can we continue to enjoy harvests and Thanksgiving Day feasts. Assistant Professor of Economics and new faculty member at PHBS, Prof. Marshall Urias, also helped start the dinner with a toast. He mentioned that it was the first Thanksgiving he’s celebrated at PKU Shenzhen, and, as an American, he was grateful for the opportunity to enjoy turkey on the special occasion. Both Chancellor Wu and Professor Urias expressed that the event is a good chance for people who grew up with Thanksgiving to feel at home in a new environment, and people who have never celebrated it receive the benefit of knowing and understanding more about the tradition
Then it was time for the turkey! The turkeys were provided by Metro, sides were catered by Frankie’s American Bar & Grill, and peach and cherry cobblers were from Baeckerei Thomas. After we lined up for foods with the help of a group of volunteers, everyone went back to the table and enjoy the dinner with friends.
For such a wonderful night with a large group of people, delicious food can’t be the only pleasure. Let me remind you of the Thanksgiving raffle cards I mentioned before because next came the Lucky Draw! Altogether six students won the little gifts; four won Peking University pillows and the other two took home cups from Starbucks.
Once everyone had finished dinner, the highlight of the night, karaoke, began. The first song Bailando warmed up the atmosphere, then followed by Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), Love the Way You Lie, Uptown Funk, Baby, and a many more international hits. Students went up to the stage one by one to sing together and danced to the music, which turned the canteen into a fantastic ball! Some Chinese oldies like 月亮代表我的心(The Moon Represents My Heart) and 对面的女孩看过来 (Look Over Here Girl) were also enthusiastically performed by Chinese and international students.
The best way to get the feeling of the night is to hear from those who joined in on the fun:
Professor Huang Haifeng, Professor at PHBS:
I have attended this celebration for more than three years. I found out that it’s getting inclusive year by year. It’s a meaningful event for cross-cultural communication. I hope that more and more Chinese students will join this event and we should also organize more activities on Chinese traditional festivals and invite international students. If you want to know more about China, you are welcomed to sign up for my course, China Studies.
Dany Bonfil from Mexico:
Not everyone in Mexico celebrates Thanksgiving Day, but those who have really close relationship with USA. In fact, I was raised in an American school. All my life I spend Thanksgiving Day in an American way. We also have turkey and gather together to share great food with our family member. Actually, the food here is better than I expected.
Myra Sun from China:
The food is pretty delicious. I love the gift. (She is one of the girls who won the pillow!) I am glad to attend the dinner and thankful for the organizers!
John Pilon from America:
So, in general, I was very happy to have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving while being away from my family. I never thought I would be eating turkey while being in China. It’s quite a pleasure to spend this special holiday surrounded by good friends.
Written by Luo Jiechunyi
Photos by Mei Siyu