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Students host weekly dinner for international students

Alabama students pose for a photo while enjoying an international dinner. Photo Courtesy of Katherine Jordan

Yun Yu

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“Both of my roommates, Meghan Walker and I have spent time overseas, and we were welcomed in by locals,” Hedrick said. “It was life-changing that they helped us when we were internationals in their home. We both know we needed to do the same in our country and university.”

Hedrick started organizing Tuesday dinners with her roommates in their house last August. Hedrick said she saw the need for international students to become acclimated to American university life, so she decided to start hosting dinners. She invited international students she met in class, coffee hours or anywhere else to come to her home.

For Hedrick and her roommates, the task of cooking 
dinner, giving rides and coordinating so many different students was 
difficult but rewarding.

“Every week when we would prepare, it was always chaotic,” she said. “But it was the most joyful chaos to be part of.”

As for the process of preparing the food, the work is always a joint effort between Hedrick, her roommates and her friends from church, who often prepare the meals and then drop them off for the weekly get together. Hedrick’s international guests often bring dishes native of their countries like dumplings, spring rolls and sushi.

Suyi Yan, a senior from China majoring in accounting, said the weekly dinners were a great way to learn about American culture.

“Without joining these dinners, I wouldn’t make so many international friends,” she said.

Hedrick said her favorite memory of Tuesday dinner is always at the last dinner of each semester when everyone at the dinner sits in a circle to share what they enjoyed, appreciated and loved about the previous 
weeks together.

“It is a beautiful and sentimental time,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick said Tuesday dinners are a good chance for her and her fellow American hosts to learn more about different cultures directly from the people who are a part of them. She said she has even learned some basic phrases in Chinese and Japanese to greet.

“All I know in Chinese is ‘ni hao ma’ [how are you],” she said.

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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894
Students host weekly dinner for international students