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ICES Cambodia Exchange Students Explore Thanksgiving in the U.S.

ICES Cambodia Exchange Students Explore Thanksgiving in the U.S.

While Christmas and Independence Day is held in the U.S. as the biggest holidays of the years, no national celebration is considered as American as the one that stands between them: Thanksgiving. 

Commemorated on the 4th Thursday of November, Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and Native Americans who came together to have a historic harvest feast, a concept similar Moon/Mid-Autumn Festival in the Eastern part of the world.

Government offices, businesses, schools, universities, colleges, and other organizations are closed on Thanksgiving Day, and their staff is given a long four-day weekend.

Many Americans travel long distances to visit family and friends and enjoy the Thanksgiving feast, which is a national tradition. The dinner almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast in 1621: roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie. 

Before the meal begins, families or friends pause to give thanks for their blessings, including the joy of being united for the occasion.

For the first time in their life, the second-generation ICES Cambodia exchange students first-hand experienced how Thanksgiving is celebrated in the State. All of them enjoyed the feast and stories to share when they are back in the Kingdom upon the completion of their exchange year. 

Attending Mustang High School in Oklahoma, Chealeang Ear got to taste so many American traditional delicacies, from turkey and ham to casserole and pies. Yet, more importantly, the holiday makes her appreciate every moment of her life. 

Thanksgiving is about spending quality time with family and the act of giving thanks for what you’re grateful for,” she said.  

“This year, I’m thankful for every moment, the life I have, and the family I have.”

Also spending her exchange year in Oklahoma, Amra Chamroen said she had an amazing time with her host family. For her, the exchange year so far has been “greater than what I had ever asked for.”

“I’m thankful for my family and friends that support me for this opportunity to be here in the USA,” Amra added. ‘’ Also, for all the friendships that I’ve made so far, I will forever be thankful for.”

Meanwhile, the other two ICES Cambodia students, Sonalen Saing and Rathreacheany Samat, also expressed their gratitude to everyone who has been a part of their lives on this year’s Thanksgiving. 

“This year, I’m very thankful for my family, my friends, my chance to become an exchange student through ICES, my host family, my international friends, and just everything at the moment!,” Reacheany said. 

“I’m thankful for my natural and host family for helping me reach my dreams of going to the U.S., making my year memorable, and having a great impact on my life,” Sonalen said. “I’m also grateful for my friends and teachers who have made my year memorable so far.”

Celebrating traditional holidays and festivals of the other country could be the most enjoyable experiences of the High School Exchange Program, but there are many more promises in the once-in-a-lifetime adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for an exchange program with ICES Cambodia right now! Remember, you are only young once!  

To be eligible, you must pass the English Proficiency Test provided by ICES Cambodia and have a good academic record (Average “C” in main subjects for the past 3 years). Register now to take the English Test: https://forms.gle/3qifKLu79f4hx5uB7.