International students celebrate Thanksgiving in Geneseo

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic
International students, some accompanied by their families, pose for a photo prior to departing from Geneseo on Sunday, Nov. 27. The students spent the Thanksgiving holiday with local families as part of the annual Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program.

Forty-six international students studying at six Chicago-area colleges and their family members spent Thanksgiving in the Geneseo area.

The Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program, now in its 57th year, pairs international students with American hosts for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The international guests arrived Wednesday, Nov. 23 and departed Sunday, Nov. 27.

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 Friday, Nov. 25 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Geneseo.

Wenyan Gou, of China, said she created “unforgettable moments” during her visit.

Loay Samha, of Jordan, spent his Thanksgiving with Al and Karen Lyman and said it was the “best weekend of all time.”

“Finally, I managed to be a farmer,” he said. “Best activities ever.”

Anqi Yang, of China, said, “I appreciate this program and want to be a host in my country in the future.”

The 42 guests were from countries, including: China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Jordan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Vietnam and Yemen.

Hosts for the 57th annual Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program included:

Atkinson: Brian and Carrie Boelens.

Cambridge: Al and Karen Lyman and Dave and Denise Schmedt* and Bob and Chris Wells.

Coal Valley: Nancy Spratt.

Colona: David and Tammy Beeson, Don and Jacki Catour, Dan and Lorna Dauw and Robert and Pamela Petrie*.

Davenport, Iowa: Randy and Lori Stephenson.

Geneseo: Kevin and Suzette Cravens*, Brian and Rebecca Daniels, Arlyn and Marcia Helke, Richard and Mary Kintigh, Joe and Jackie Mickley, Mike and Vicki Rowlands and Merlin and Lynne Sebastian.

LeClaire, Iowa: Jeff and Pam Brammann.

Moline: Scott and Shellie Killip.

Rapids City: Chuck and Judy McCoy.

* 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.