The majority of Harding students hit the road and headed home for Thanksgiving, but most international students had to make other plans.
Junior Cameron Murry is from Nottingham, England, and has spent the past two Thanksgivings with senior Blake Cundiff and his family in Athens, Alabama.
“Freshman year, going home was out of the equation because it was only a week, and traveling 22 hours to go home for a week is not reasonable, so I needed somewhere to go,” Murry said. “When Blake offered, I immediately took him up on it, and the past two years with his family have been a lot of fun.”
Murry and Cundiff met each other through their social club, Gamma Sigma Phi, when Murry joined as a freshman.
“The hospitality that Blake’s family has shown to me, I could never have hoped for,” Murry said. “They and the Harding community in general have become a second family to me.”
In England, there are no celebrations of Thanksgiving, and Murry said he really appreciates the concept of this holiday.
“The food is great, but I love that people take time to say what they’re thankful for, because a lot of the time that can be overlooked,” Murry said. “It just gives you a different perspective on how lucky you actually are.”
Sophomores Dimitri Tsirmpas and Timothy Strasser spent Thanksgiving together with Strasser’s family in Wynne, Arkansas.
Tsirmpas is from Athens, Greece. His family works closely with the Harding University Greece (HUG) program, so he had celebrated Thanksgiving with HUG students before becoming a Harding student himself.
“Being from Greece, I really put a lot of value into family, and Thanksgiving is a day where you forget about life and spend time with your family, so I really liked that,” Tsirmpas said.
On Thanksgiving Day, Tsirmpas and Strasser participated in what Tsirmpas described as a “traditional Southern Thanksgiving,” during which they ate and watched football. Tsirmpas said his favorite classic Thanksgiving food is sweet potatoes with marshmallows.
“I’m really happy he came, and I think everyone else really enjoyed him too,” Strasser said. “I got to take him to my church and introduce him to everyone. He really just fit right in to the family.”
Strasser encourages American students to take international students home with them at any chance they get.
“My appreciation for him really grew throughout the week, and it’s fun to see someone come in from the outside and just care,” Strasser said. “Spending that much time at home with someone from school can be a really special thing.”