International students make most out of their stay on campus during Thanksgiving

Tyler Manning

Richard Thomas, management information systems senior, Caleb Gabriel, MIS senior, Kevin Lord, computer science senior and Johann Redhead, computer science senior, enjoy hanging out with each other in the Clark Student Center. Photo by Tellon Smith, computer science senior.

Thanksgiving is a time to go home and have a good holiday with family. For students from out of state and international students, long distances and high travel costs inhibit that from being a reality, forcing them to stay in Wichita Falls over the school break.

Despite not being able to go home, four international students from Grenada made the best out of their breaks from school.

Richard Thomas, management information systems senior, Johann Redhead, computer science senior, Kevin Lord, computer science senior and Caleb Gabriel, MIS senior, met up the past four Thanksgivings to engage in fun hangouts and festivities.

All sharing similar backgrounds, they have been friends since their arrivals to campus.

Thomas said that him and Lord had been friends for a long time.

“I have known Kevin since I have known myself. We had the same pre-primary school, the same primary school, secondary school, college and now university,” Thomas said.

Thomas and Gabriel were not always friends and it was through their mutual friendship in Lord that they came together.

“I knew of Caleb. We were kind of rivals. We went to rival schools. Technically we weren’t friends, but we went to the same gym and kind of bonded. Kevin was a mutual friend that tied us together,” Thomas said.

Gabriel also said he and Thomas were in the same travel group when they set out for MSU.

“When our people come up from the same islands, they have a representative on each island so they normally get us all together, whichever group is going up for the spring or the fall. They get them all together and talk all the details. We go get the student visas together and book the flights together,” Gabriel said.

For Redhead, his introduction to the others in the group was by having Lord as a roommate.

Thomas said, “When we got up here, Caleb and I, Kevin was showing us around and said ‘Oh this is my roommate [Johann].'”

And the rest was history.

“Kevin and I worked back home. Richard is a mutual friend between Kevin and some other friends of mine so that is how I met Richard,” Gabriel said. “We both came up here together as a group so we had to process some things together. I met Johann through Kevin, that was his roommate when I first came up here.”

Due to the high cost of traveling back home, they have not been able to go back to the country of Grenada since they started going to school.

Redhead said, “It is a little to expensive to warrant [going back to Grenada] for three days.”

Students who come from the Caribbean islands and cannot go home for break have an opportunity to eat a Thanksgiving meal with the Caribbean Student Organization.

“Sometimes the Caribbean Student Organization has a cookout at the clubhouse in Colony Park. So like they’ll make chicken and cook up turkeys and stuff. It’s like a group dinner for the organization,” Lord said.

Though staying in Wichita Falls away from family on a holiday may be difficult, Gabriel said he does not mind staying and has only been home once since starting his journey here at MSU.

“I have only been back home once and that was back in December. I don’t really like going back home. It’s a waste of money,” Gabriel said. “When you grow up there, it becomes boring. For someone whose lived in the U.S. and they want to go back there, it is exciting. It’s just too slow for me. The only thing I miss are my family and friends, but I don’t really miss the place.”


Though Thanksgiving is a major holiday in American culture in which families come together, the holiday differs in the country of Grenada.

“The culture up here seems to be a little different from back home because up here it seems to be a known thing for all the family to get together and cook,” Gabriel said. “Back home, we see it as a day you get to relax from work. What you guys do during Thanksgiving, we normally do that during the Christmas time.”

According to Thomas, Grenada is a country that is known most for its beaches so residents and tourists spend their holiday on the beach.

Lord said, “It’s basically like another holiday to us. So the most you do on Thanksgiving is probably go to a park or go to the beach. It’s not like Thanksgiving up here where they make sure they make turkey or something like that. We don’t really do that.”

Thomas said that, in Grenada, common foods that would be served on Thanksgiving include baked chicken and macaroni pie. Baked chicken is a dish in which chicken is seasoned, covered in barbecue sauce and put in the oven to be baked. Macaroni pie is macaroni and cheese, but baked instead of being made on a stovetop.

Gabriel, Lord, Thomas and Redhead usually meet up when school is out for breaks.

Gabriel said, “Anytime we do get a break from school, more than likely, we’re going to link up and have a couple of eats and drinks, [watch] movies and [play] video games.”


This is a tradition that carries on for Thanksgiving where the group usually buys food to eat; however this year they wanted to cook themselves.

“Usually all four of us [have Thanksgiving together]. We are all kind of a group. We also bring other friends. We just hang out,” Redhead said. “Since we don’t cook, we usually just order a pizza and some wings and play games and watch a couple of movies and stuff so nothing too serious. But, we just wanted to cook this year.”

The group decided to go all out and participate in the Thanksgiving festivities planning out a meal that they were to cook themselves.

“It was the first time we prepared the food and organized it. We had our own little dinner, made up some turkeys, chicken and so forth and watched movies,” Lord said.

The group had the usual Thanksgiving turkey along with food from their home country of Grenada.

“We made baked chicken and the macaroni pie, but to make it ‘Thanksgiving’ we made a turkey,” Thomas said. “Every family has a different way of preparing their turkeys so we just chose one way and went with it. It was a bit weird, especially trying to get the seasoning inside it. I wasn’t messing with that.”

Each person in the group had different roles in organizing the meal either making the food or buying the ingredients for the meal.

Though Redhead said he does not usually cook, he was tasked with making scalloped potatoes. Thomas was in charge of making the baked chicken and macaroni pie and seasoning the turkey. Gabriel was in charge of the getting the ingredients and drinks.

After their day of eating, they made a Black Friday trip to Dallas.

Gabriel said, “Normally around Thanksgiving we try to plan a trip or something. This time we went to Dallas on Black Friday to go shopping.”

Though they are expected to graduate in the spring, the group said that they would meet up again for the following Thanksgiving, if they are in the same area.