At Barnard, bold helps to describe what the College is. Community, however, describes what the College builds, whether students have traveled from near or far to enroll. Part of this is the result of being a small liberal arts college.

Take the campus size as an example. Barnard sits on a modest four acres, but its student body of 3,223 comes from more than 50 countries. The College’s newest members, the Class of 2027, hail from around the globe, including Argentina, Cambodia, Sweden, and Ukraine — all brave and determined to move to New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world. Even in the vastness of 7.8 million people, international students from other class years have spoken about the unique camaraderie and companionship they’ve found here:

“I chose Barnard because I wanted a feminist education in a city that brings what feels like the entire world together,” said Tapiwa Gambura ’24, an English and anthropology double major from Zimbabwe.
“As a member of the Hong Kong students club and a mentorship program for Asian youth, I’ve connected with members of the community that share a similar heritage. Food also reminds me of home; one memory is when I cooked hot pot for my suitemates for Lunar New Year!” said Morgan Zee ’22 from Hong Kong, who majored in sociology and computer science.
“The support women give each other here is unimaginable,” said computer science major Diksha Aurobindo ’25, from India.

International students might feel especially supported over Thanksgiving since this is the time of year when local alumnae generously volunteer to host students who are staying in the City for "Turkey Day.” This year, more than a dozen of undergraduates and alumnae signed up for Millie’s Thanksgiving Homestay Program to share in holiday festivities with each other. A total of 21 pairs were confirmed. 

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Valerie Monaco

Sponsored by the Office of Development and Alumnae Relations, Millie’s Thanksgiving Homestay Program was made possible by a Barnard DEI grant that helps to fund travel costs for the students. By spending time together, students and alumnae get the opportunity to learn from each other and deepen their Barnard bonds.

“The grant has enabled Access Barnard and International Student Services to reestablish an important Barnard tradition that existed pre-COVID,” said Valerie Monaco, director of International Student Services. “It enables [our office] to purchase travel fare for the students, provide pies for students to bring to their host families, and host a special program for the students to reconvene during the following week.”  

In addition to resuming a beloved College tradition, Monaco said that international students can often feel like they’re "missing out" during the Thanksgiving holiday when many of their domestic peers travel home — even if they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in their home countries.

“This is an unmissable opportunity for international students to experience an American holiday centered around gratitude and to immerse themselves in a welcoming community, all contributing to their sense of belonging,” said Monaco. “The exchange of cultures over a warm meal will be a memorable experience for international students, as they add a Barnard alum to their personal and professional network, while celebrating the season of gratitude.”

Thanksgiving Homestay 2023-1
Photo courtesy of Claire Qu '26, hosted by Emily Yang '94
Thanksgiving Homestay 2023-2

After the holiday, on November 30, the office of International Student Services will bring all of the student participants together to write thank you cards to their hosts and share their experiences with each other. 

If looking for alternative meal options for the holiday, check out Barnard’s Guide to a Vegetarian Thanksgiving, featuring recipes and tips from New York Times food reporter Melissa Clark ’90.

Barnard's Thanksgiving Homestay 2023

Sarah Jiang '24, Wen Zhang'25, Mahati Shastry '24, Shiruo (Nicole) Liang '25 hosted by Ann Sacher '85

Shiori Horton '25 hosted by Jan Vinokour '72