Here at CAEP, we love holidays. Holidays are fantastic opportunities to grow, learn, and share during cultural exchange experiences. And although every nationality may celebrate their holidays in their own unique ways, there is undoubtedly one tradition that unites us all; food! When we share recipes unique to our homes or nationalities with those gathered around the table, we share a little piece of our world with one another.
Quyen from Vietnam had always heard about Thanksgiving in America (especially the turkey) and was thrilled to be able to experience the holiday for the first time with her new CAEP friends. Read on to learn more about her holiday!
My First Thanksgiving
“I am living with other CAEP students from Colombia and the Philippines during my CAEP experience at Rockwell Farms in North Carolina!. For me, living with other people, especially with people from different cultures, is really interesting. I have learned how to cook their traditional foods and how to talk with other people about their styles. I now have more knowledge about other countries in the world. Although sometimes we misunderstand each other because of language and lifestyles but after all, I truly appreciate having the chance to experience life with them.
My first holiday in the United States is Thanksgiving. In Vietnam, we do not have Thanksgiving. It always sounded fun, and I was always curious about how turkey on Thanksgiving tasted. It is the reason why I was so excited when my friend invited me to join her family. We had an amazing dinner with turkey and other traditional foods for the holiday. We ate, shared our stories, and played some games together. That is my first Thanksgiving and a holiday that I will never forget in my life. Now I know how turkey tastes, and I can tell my kids about my Thanksgiving when I become a mother someday.
Evette, my English teacher from the local community college where I am an ESL student, invited me to her Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoyed my holiday with Evette’s family and my roommates as we celebrated some traditional foods, and I shared my favorite Vietnamese dishes. We had conservations, and we exchanged our cultures with each other.
Before I came here, I thought it would be a hard time because of different languages, cultures, and especially foods. I was so nervous. But when I came here, I realized that everything is amazing. I have met a lot of people who treat me as their family. I have been invited to try new foods or experience their lifestyles by joining their traditional parties or holidays. All the cultures I have known here are amazing, although they are new to me. I feel so lucky that I can experience this.
Why I pursued a CAEP Cultural Exchange Program
I am an outgoing and social girl, I like to explore new things, and I am really into travel. I read a book by Anthony Bourdain that if you are twenty-two, physically fit, and hungry to learn, I urge you to travel – as far as widely as possible. Sleep on the floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go. I always think of different cultures and people outside Vietnam -that is the reason why I took this chance to come here.
CAEP is a program where you can connect with people from all over the world, experience new things, and find things in your life that you will never forget. I am lucky to know CAEP and to have participated. I highly recommend those who are looking for something exciting and want to learn more about horticulture. I gained a lot through the CAEP program.”
If you are interested in traveling the world, learning about new cultures, and growing your career, visit our website www.caep.org to apply.