Nasser Fard, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern, grew up in Iran and came to the U.S. in the 1970s to study at the University of Arizona. At Thanksgiving, faculty members would invite him into their homes for a hearty meal and relaxing conversation.
“I remember warm gatherings, good food, and learning about the American culture,” Fard says.
For the past eight years, he’s been paying it forward, hosting Thanksgiving for international students at his home in Newton, Massachusetts.
On Thursday, Fard, his wife, and their two sons will continue the tradition, hosting doctoral candidates Yuanchen Fang and Huyang Xu for the second consecutive year. Football will be on the TV and traditional Thanksgiving fare will be on the table.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with professor Fard and his family,” says Fang. “I miss them.”
Fard—who co-authored a paper with Fang and Xu in 2015—is one of more than two-dozen faculty and staff who have already committed to hosting international students for Thanksgiving. But the Office of Global Services, which is organizing the effort, is looking for even more volunteers to help them feel at home over the holiday.
“Such faculty-staff-student relations will help enrich cultural exchanges,” says Luchen Li, dean of the Office of Global Services.