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Thanksgiving a la Francaise

Maria Fernandez | Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After three and a half months of complete language and cultural immersion, the 13 Notre Dame students studying abroad this semester in Angers, France celebrated one of our most cherished holidays — Thanksgiving.

Every year, the Centre International d’Etudes Françaises (CIDEF) of the Université Catholique de l’Ouest (UCO) hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner for Notre Dame students and their host families.

But this is no ordinary Thanksgiving meal. From homemade decorations and live performances to traditional Thanksgiving cuisine, there was a unique touch to this year’s soirée.

Every Notre Dame student in CIDEF was given a pack of Thanksgiving-themed pictures to color and decorate. We hung these decorations throughout the room and also made origami turkeys as table centerpieces.

Prior to our arrival in September, our program director, Madame Odette Menyard, asked us to bring with us canned pumpkin. This week, Notre Dame students used the canned pumpkin to make pie for dessert. It was a great surprise for our host parents and professors who had never tried the treat before.

For the grand finale, some talented students entertained us by putting on a musical and dance spectacle. We then presented a slideshow with pictures of our amazing experience in Angers. We couldn’t end our Thanksgiving gathering without singing the Alma Mater. All 13 of us got up and sang it in unison as a reminder of our friends and family back home at Notre Dame.

As our semester abroad in Angers is soon coming to a close, this Thanksgiving dinner away from home was a great way to get together with our French families and celebrate one of our cultural traditions with them. It also was a way to express our gratitude to them and the CIDEF staff for helping us learn about the French culture, live the French way and feel at home for these past few months. We’ve had an amazing time getting to know France and Europe this semester, and for that and much more we are certainly grateful.

Happy belated Thanksgiving from your Notre Dame friends at Angers!