Do you have room for one or two more?

Do you have room for one or two more?

Thanksgiving Dinner. Sweet potatoes covered with marshmallows, green bean casserole, 3-layered jello salad, a huge turkey with salty stuffing, multiple flavors of sweet pies. Most of this made me want to gag when I experienced my first holiday dinner with my mother’s family at 11. (And honestly, it still does.)

It didn’t matter, though, because we had so much fun playing with our cousins who we hadn’t seen in 5 years.  We got to hear our grandma’s stories about our mother’s exploits as a kid, and our relatives actually seemed to enjoy hearing our stories about our adventures in Kenya.  The whole family headed outside for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. We relished being able to share life together.

A few years later in college, I was dreading the prospect of having to figure out where to stay during the Thanksgiving break, because the entire campus seemed to clear out for the holiday. Mom and Dad were 9,000 miles away (give or take), and Chicago to Minneapolis was too far for a poor college student to go, especially for just a weekend. One of the girls from my dorm invited me to go home with her for the weekend. I don’t remember at all what we had to eat, but I do remember the warm welcome, and the way they put this introvert at ease.

This year, Thanksgiving is November 23. At the many colleges and universities here in the Twin Cities some international students won’t be part of the exodus from their campuses when so many of their classmates head home for Thanksgiving. And many of these students have never visited an American home or experienced Thanksgiving with an American family, but would love to have the opportunity.

USA Homestays is matching students with families in the Twin Cities for the holiday — it would include the Thanksgiving meal and whatever else you traditionally do at Thanksgiving.  The time commitment would be 2-3 hours unless you want to go longer.

Sign up online at  or contact for more information.