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Join us for a Thanksgiving meal with a Lehigh family! The Thanksgiving Host program will be accepting applications for 2024 during the month of October.

As the holiday season approaches, the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is thrilled to reintroduce a heartwarming tradition, our Thanksgiving Host Program. OISS is connecting our international students and scholars with the extended Lehigh family – our dedicated faculty, staff, and local domestic students who open their homes and hearts for an unforgettable Thanksgiving experience.

For many international students and scholars, the Thanksgiving holiday can be a time of reflection and longing for the warmth of home and family, which are often far away. However, this year will be different. By joining our program, you will have the opportunity to create cherished memories, share your unique culture, and connect with new friends from our Lehigh community. For our gracious hosts, this is a chance to open your doors and receive not only international guests but also the deep gratitude and appreciation of those you welcome into your homes. It's an opportunity for cultural exchange, friendship-building, and a heartwarming Thanksgiving experience for all involved. Together, let's make this Thanksgiving a truly memorable and inclusive celebration!

Students & Scholars

If you are an international student or scholar, please sign up here to be our guest and enjoy a special Thanksgiving celebration. (Note: International scholars are individuals engaged in temporary academic activities at Lehigh under a non-immigrant visa, such as visiting graduate students, postdocs, and visiting faculty, who are not currently enrolled as regular students.)

Lehigh Faculty, Staff, and domestic students

If you're a Lehigh faculty member, staff, or a local domestic student, please sign up here to be a host and extend the warmth of your family to our global community.


Registration for 2023 opens on 10/24/2023 and closes on 11/05/2023.


When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. This year, Thanksgiving will be on November 23rd, 2023. 

If you want to know more about the history and tradition of Thanksgiving, click here!


Who are the participants?

Our hosts are Lehigh University's faculty, staff, and local domestic students who enthusiastically sign up for this program, extending invitations to our international students and scholars to celebrate Thanksgiving in their homes. On the other side, our guests include Lehigh's international students and scholars, including visiting graduate students, postdocs and visiting faculty, who eagerly embrace the opportunity to join a local family, celebrate Thanksgiving together, and exchange their unique cultural experiences.


How does the Thanksgiving Host Program work?

If you are interested in being a host or a guest, you will need to sign up by November 5th, 2023 (Friday). We will match you based on the information you provide to us and send you an email regarding the information of the guest or host you are matched with.  We will host information sessions for matched hosts and guests during the week of November 13th to make sure you understand the expectations and responsibilities of your role.  After that, hosts and guests should connect via e-mail  or telephone to make plans and arrangements for the Thanksgiving celebration.

Guest-host matches will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, as applications come in. This means that registering for the Thanksgiving Host Program does not guarantee that you will be matched with a guest or a host.

We would encourage hosts and guests to share their stories and pictures of the day with OISS! We will ask all hosts and guests to complete a short  survey after Thanksgiving to help us improve the program.


What are the expectations?

Different hosts may have different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. It could be on either that Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. It could be half a day, one day, or just that evening; it could be just dinner, a meal associated with watching a football game, or an after-meal walk. No matter how the host decides to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we strongly recommend that the host and the guest(s) have full and open communication about what to expect. This will help clarify expectations for both sides, such as the celebration date and location, the arrival/pick-up time and address, the length of the celebration, and the leaving/drop-off time requested by the guests. 

It is a one-time celebration; the host who signs up this year is not obligated to host next year. However, we hope the host and the guest will have a beautiful celebration and will keep their friendship from there.


Are hosts expected to house their Thanksgiving Student Guests overnight?

The guest should not expect to stay overnight at the host's house. However, if hosts are able and willing to provide overnight housing during Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, it is an individual decision and arrangement made by the host and the guest. OISS is not responsible for assisting with making plans and arrangements between hosts and student guests.


If I sign up and then decide not to go, can I cancel?

After the host and the guest are matched, we want both sides to make a commitment that they will try their best to participate in the holiday celebration. We don’t recommend either side to cancel without an emergency situation because the host side may have put a lot of effort into preparing the Thanksgiving meal, while the guest may have held a very high expectation to attend the event. Cancellation from either side may bring inconvenience or disappointment to the other party. We need the participants to pay respect to be part of the program.

If any participant has any unexpected situations arise and has to cancel their participation, please promptly notify both OISS and the guest or the host they were matched with.


What are some other resources for this program?

Faculty/Staff: Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination

Students: Code of Conduct (Article V)

Scholars: Depending on the scholar's relationship with the university, the participating scholar will be subject to any applicable policies or codes of conduct.


Who should I contact if I have questions that are not answered on this website?

You may contact Linnan Tartaglia, International Student Advisor, at