Forty six international students studying at eight Chicago-area colleges and their family members spent Thanksgiving in the Geneseo area.
The Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program, now in its 54th year, pairs international students with American hosts for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The international guests arrived Nov. 27 and departed Dec. 1.
In addition to spending Thanksgiving with their host families, the guests had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities including shopping, attending church services and visiting area attractions.
Guests and their hosts all attended an international potluck supper and program on Nov. 30 at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo.
Visitor Guoying Chen of China said, "This visit is the best way to understand American culture and improve mutual understanding of our nations and peoples."
Huda Alshammari of Kuwait said, "I want to thank my host family because they accepted me as a partner in their family. This trip (gave) me a good experience about the real lives of a U.S. family."
Martin Marulanda of Colombia said he was "very happy to be here sharing culture and personality."
Tristan Riquelme of Chile called the experience "a pleasure" and said, "We expected emotion, turkey. But what we didn't expect (was) we would get a new family ... like being at home."
Yunxiu Deng of China said, "I will let people know about this beautiful place."
The 46 guests were from 11 countries, including: China, Colombia, Chile, India, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, the Republic of South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
Hosts for the 54th annual Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program include:
Geneseo: Leigh Boorn, Bill and Dona Bordwell, Stephen and Susan Fonteyne, Arlyn and Marcia Helke, Larry and Terri Hock, Richard and Mary Kintigh, Ross and Margaret McDowell, Joe and Jackie Mickley*, Craig and Kathy Patterson, Don and Tammy Price*, and Mike and Vicki Rowlands.
Aledo: Duane and Nellie Goderis and Jim and Beth VanVooren.
Atkinson: Brian and Carrie Boelens.
Bettendorf, Iowa: Bob and Jan Gull*.
Cambridge: Kenneth and Cindra German, Al and Karen Lyman*, and Bob and Chris Wells.
Cleveland: Bill and Marcia Herr.
Coal Valley: Terry and Cindy Francis*.
Colona: David and Tammy Beeson, Don and Jackie Catour, Dan and Lorna Dauw and Brian and Candy Jones.
East Moline: Betty Hogue.
LeClaire, Iowa: Jeff and Pam Brammann.
Moline: Shellie Darr and Scott Killip*, Steve and Connie Gyenge and Becki Maxson and Dick Kramer.
Orion: Egil and Susan Moen*.
Rock Island: Andy and Kelly McKay.
Seaton: Dustin and Amy Terrill*.
Page 2 of 2 - Taylor Ridge: Doug and Sheri Vroman*.
* Designates first-time hosts.
Any community member wanting to become involved in any of the international programs of the Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship is asked to contact the Helkes at 944-4486. The program especially needs farm hosts, young hosts, local driver guides (sometimes with vans) and occasional language assistance.