DCIE Celebrates Thanksgiving With Intensive English Program Students

DCIE Celebrates Thanksgiving With Intensive English Program Students

By DCIE News

DCIE Celebrates Thanksgiving With Intensive English Program Students

By DCIE News
The Division of Continuing and International Education’s Intensive English Program hosted its 38th annual Student Thanksgiving Celebration on November 17th.

Since 1983, the IEP has celebrated this American holiday with students from all over the world and created immersive cultural experiences. The breakfast event featured a Thanksgiving-inspired buffet, student remarks, a gratitude tree for attendees to share their thanks, and a Thanksgiving-themed word search for students.

Michelle Alvarez, Executive Director of the Intensive English Program and Intensive Language Institute, kicked off the event with comments celebrating International Education Week (November 15-19) and the program’s commitment to fostering dialogue and friendship among the international student community at the University of Miami.

“The Intensive English Program is such a special component of the Division of Continuing and International Education because it gives our international students the tools they need to excel in an American university setting. IEP is especially unique because it expands the global community of UM and exposes our English learners to cultural and recreational activities beyond the classroom setting,” said Alvarez.

We spoke with three students about their experience in the program, what they have learned about Thanksgiving, and what they are grateful for this year. Below are excerpts of our conversation.

Is this your first experience with Thanksgiving?

Qianhao Zhao: Yes.

Ke Ruan: Yes.

Carolina Munoz: Yes, it is.

Prior to IEP, what did you know about the holiday?

Qianhao: It’s really about the whole family staying together and eating.

Ke: Turkey!

Carolina: I had heard [of it] before, but more for Black Friday. Before today, I didn’t know the real history about Thanksgiving.

Do you have any plans to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

Qianhao: My older sister is visiting. She will go to Orlando, so I will drive to Orlando to take care of her.

Ke: Maybe I will go to California to meet my friends. Maybe!

Carolina: Yes, I think that I will go to Orlando. I have some friends there.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving food?

Carolina: I don’t know about the real turkey, but today I liked the blueberry French toast.

Are there any holidays in your home country or culture that focus on similar themes of family, gratitude, and eating together?

Qianhao: No. It’s totally a fresh holiday.

Ke: I think [we share] family getting together to have a meal.

Carolina: No, but we have a very big celebration for Christmas.

How has your experience been with IEP and the University of Miami? How is that transition going?

Qianhao: I think the most challenging [thing] for me is that there are no parents around to help with the schedule. I have to do everything by myself, which can be a really big challenge. But my grades are still okay; I have handled it!

Ke: I think the big challenge is not only studying but socializing.

Carolina: I love the campus. I went to a university in Colombia that also had a very nice campus, but this is a new experience for me. But I can’t enjoy too much because I work remotely from Colombia, so after class I usually go to my house [to work]. This [semester] is nicer than the last because there are more people around the University. When I started, there were just IEP students, and everything around was closed.

What do you think of Miami? How different is it from your home?

Qianhao: I think everything is great.

Ke: I like the climate and weather!

Carolina: It’s very crazy because Miami is like all Latin Americans in the United States! I came [to Miami] because I must go back to Colombia every two weeks for my job... I really want to go up north because it is better for my English skills. If I go outside the University, it’s very much like my city. Everyone speaks Spanish. I can find all of the food of my country and the world... I think that Miami is a very Latin city.

What’s been your favorite memory so far – either in the classroom or during the social activities?

Qianhao: [For me, it’s] the Halloween event [hosted by IEP].

Ke: The volleyball game. It was the first time I ever played volleyball. And watching the football games. I like that kind of atmosphere.

Carolina: The July 4th activity [with IEP] was fun. We played games here outside.

What are you grateful for this year?

Qianhao: My parents!

Ke: My reading and writing professor, she has helped me a lot.

Carolina: Many things. First, I’m grateful because I have all of my family complete after the crazy pandemic... I did not lose anyone close to me and I am grateful for that. Also, [I am grateful] because I came here for a couple of months to study and have a new experience.

Qianhao Zhao is a 19-year-old student from China who plans to continue studying business at the University of Miami after completing the Intensive English Program.

Ke Ruan, 18, is also from China and would like to study economics at the University of Miami after IEP graduation.

Carolina Munoz is a 25-year-old student from Colombia who intends to pursue her MBA in the United States after finishing the final level of the IEP. She earned her undergraduate degree in Colombia in civil engineering and continues to work remotely for her job in Colombia while she studies at the IEP.

Division of Continuing and International Education
Division of Continuing and International Education