Most American holiday celebrations are still several weeks away, but some international students are already celebrating their country’s holidays.
The ETSU Chinese Students and Scholars Association held a Mid-Autumn Festival on Oct. 1 at the Culp Center’s Cave Patio.
“We want to introduce traditional Chinese culture to all the students at ETSU,” said student and event coordinator Xiaochuan Yu.
The association holds the festival each year to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese National Day, which is Oct. 1. The Mid-Autumn Festival is like Thanksgiving in China, so the event on campus creates a similar family gathering for students while studying abroad, according to Mingwei Li, a student in the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
“In this festival in China, it celebrates family gathering together, family reunions,” Li said. “A lot of international students are leaving home to come here and study, and maybe they’re homesick.”
Traditional Chinese food for the event was provided by Magic Wok on Roan Street. Several traditional games were also available for people to play with during the festival. Students were able to sit together and talk during the festival like they would with their families in China. Over the Cave Patio speakers, students had a mixture of Chinese and American music playing, welcoming students to see what was taking place.
All students and community members are invited to festivals hosted by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Some families even attended with their younger children.
“We want more opportunities for international students … to communicate with American students, so they can know each other more,” Li said.
She said several international students she knows are shy, and festivals like this help them meet new people and get involved.
The association has 13 student members, according to Li. Currently, all members are international students from China, but students from other countries are welcomed to participate in their activities.
Each semester, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association holds an event for each season. The Spring Festival will take place near the beginning of the spring semester.
“We hope we can make it greater, and we want more people next year and next semester,” Yu said. “We want more people.”