On November 19th, the English Speaking Union's Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) hosted its annual traditional American Thanksgiving celebration. This event affords ARNIC members the opportunity to experience and actively participate in a major U.S. holiday, all while enjoying the joyful company of their peers and teachers. ARNIC is a free ESU program that facilitates the integration of recently arrived immigrants through English language classes, conversation tutoring and professional development opportunities.
Each year for Thanksgiving, the staff of the ESU transforms the Garden Lounge into a festively adorned dining area that exudes the warmth of the season in sights, smells and tastes. The celebration is catered to provide members with all the trimmings of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal, from turkey to pumpkin pie.
During the dinner, three ARNIC students, Fernando, Claudine and Gabriel, delivered speeches, touching on their personal immigration stories and the impact that ARNIC has had on their lives. Additionally, all members and guests were given the opportunity to express their gratitude; all were encouraged to add to the "Wall of Thanks," writing down something for which they were particularly grateful this Thanksgiving.
This year, the ESU hosted well over 130 guests, including members of the board of directors. At the conclusion of the evening, everyone trickled out of the building with hearty laughter and merry smiles, embodying the spirit of a traditional American holiday that has evolved into a celebration of America's ever-changing mosaic.