J-1 Trainees Kick Off the 2017 Holiday Season

Filed in Exchange Visitor Reflections by on December 11, 2017 0 Comments


Kamila Nadrowska is from Poland and is currently training with a food manufacturer in Rochester, New York.

My host company had an amazing lunch for the employees, where everybody presented their own favorite dish. I tried several American Thanksgiving dishes, such as roasted veggies, crispy sweet potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, mash potatoes, and turkey with cranberry sauce. It’s a really family orientated holiday, where everybody is thankful for all the good things in their lives.

I was most thankful for the warm welcome I have received since joining my host organization’s team and the guidance from mentors, family, and friends who have supported me in my career and throughout my life.

Thanksgiving is about history and turkey, but most importantly, it’s a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. It’s a family time over a delicious meal. Thanksgiving is an important holiday for Americans, when everybody watches the amazing Macy’s Day Parade in New York. Thanksgiving is not like Christmas since there are no gifts. Your only obligation on this day is to spend some time with the people you care about, and to think about what has shaped you into who you are today.

Krishna Bhatia is from India and is currently training with a bank in New York, New York.

In India, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day the way Americans do. Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated on August 15 in the Indian state of Goa. During the Thanksgiving ritual, people thank God for all the material and spiritual benefits.

I enjoyed Thanksgiving Day here.

I got the opportunity to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on 6th avenue and 44th street. This was the first time I attended the parade. It was a very colorful display by the Americans. I was astonished to see the giant cartoon characters, balloons, and colorful exhibits by different clowns and groups. It was beautifully organized.

I also did shopping at various malls and enjoyed the door-buster deals and offers of Thanksgiving, as well as Black Friday the next day. The American people are also very fond of variety shopping. I got the opportunity to avail attractive doorbusters deals and offers too!

Mbali Khumalo is from South Africa and is currently a training with a law firm in New York, New York.

In South Africa we do not have a holiday designated as Thanksgiving so this was a first for me. Almost everyone I spoke to in respect of Thanksgiving plans would be spending it with family or very close friends, which was heartwarming. I felt like it was a family oriented holiday (and that made me miss my family a bit). The amount of food people ate over the Thanksgiving holiday came up a lot in conversations.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, the host firm held a Thanksgiving luncheon for all its staff on November 17, which I attended. The luncheon served a wide variety of foods one would expect to see at a Thanksgiving meal. It was a great experience to share with new colleagues what their Thanksgiving plans were and what Thanksgiving meant to them. The food was delicious!

On Thanksgiving Day, I was invited to lunch hosted by another J-1 trainee from Argentina through a former colleague from South Africa. We had conversations about our new home, what we were grateful for, and what we would like to achieve through our training. It was great. The turkey was also good. On November 24, I went to visit the Rockefeller Center and went to Top of the Rock.

I think that Thanksgiving seems to be more significant and important than Christmas (which is what we generally celebrate in South Africa). Significant in that it is about family and appreciating the people around you and some of the things people have achieved.