International students experience Christmas traditions during dead week


Phuong Anh Do

Students were invited to participate in Christmas activities during dead week.

With cupcakes, gingerbread and Christmas activities, INTO Marshall is aiming to ease students’ minds during dead week by letting international students get involved in some  American Christmas activities. 

“We have a holiday party to celebrate with our students,” Liv Giovingo, student services specialist at INTO, said. “It’s especially to get international students to learn about different holidays that we celebrate in the U.S., and for domestic students an opportunity to come and celebrate something that they always celebrate.” 

Despite the cold weather and stress during dead week, both international and domestic students made it to the event on Dec. 2 in the INTO Center Lobby. INTO Marshall provided gingerbread and cupcakes for students to decorate for free. Ngan Bui, a junior student originally from Vietnam, said decorating gingerbread was a new experience for her. 

“We do have other Christmas activities to celebrate in Vietnam, but I don’t think gingerbread decorating is common in my country,” Bui said. “I did enjoy the party. I think the main purpose is to help student to relax and calm before the final. Gingerbread decorating is soothing and relaxing for me.”

Giovingo said the gingerbread house will be available for students until the end of the week and students can come and decorate the cookies anytime they want.

“I will leave some of the houses out over the week so if students want, they can still do that in between finals,” Giovingo said. “It’s nice to have these events during dead week, so people can hangout, or watch a movie or do a craft to get their minds off of studying for just an hour.”

Alvaro Soriano, a Spanish-American student, said he enjoyed the party and the cookies were his favorite part.

“My friend encouraged me to join the event, and when I came here and saw the cookies, I was like, ‘Oh, perfect,’” Soriano said. “We decorated the gingerbread when I was younger. As now I’m older, we don’t do that anymore. I enjoyed the cookies; I enjoyed the drawing. It makes me feel like a little kid again.”

Phuong Anh Do can be contacted at [email protected]