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An International Christmas By: Gretchen Lumpkin

Every school year Hardin-Simmons University has the honor of welcoming many new and returning international students from all over the world.

This week the Brand staff had the privilege of hearing from five different HSU international students from five different countries and how they and their families personally celebrate the holidays.

Ju Hyun Baek (goes by Tim) is a sophomore music education major from South Korea who also has lived in Malaysia. Tim comes from a family of missionaries with his dad serving as a pastor. “We spend the entire Christmas week at church with our church members,” wrote Hyun Baek. “In Malaysia, even though it’s a Muslim country, people celebrate Christmas. The malls would put [a] huge tree in the middle and put decorations everywhere. They sometimes have foams as fake snow falling down from the ceiling since it does not snow in Malaysia.”

Jesuye Olabisi is a senior social work and psychology major from Nigeria. Her family has many traditions they do together for the holidays. “We take pictures together in matching Christmas pajamas, have a Christmas movie marathon, and give out gifts to people in the neighborhood,” wrote Olabisi. “We recently started going to homeless shelters to give out clothes and other things they need. We also serve them food and get to know them, which is my favorite thing to do. The Christmas holiday is always a blessing and a time to relax and enjoy being with family.”

Reece Hester is a sophomore psychology major who has lived in Cambodia and America with his family who are also missionaries. He has experienced Christmases in a predominantly Buddhist country as well as Christian in the United States. Among all the holiday traditions, Hester wrote that his favorite is decorating the tree together, opening presents and going out to eat somewhere.

Ruby Oku is a graduate student from Ghana studying management. “During the holidays, especially this time of the year, all my family goes to the village including my distant aunts and cousins I did not know I had. We all come together and cook,” wrote Oku. “My father sends money to the village to buy a big cow to kill in the village compound. We do this to give to those around us who do not have [enough money or food], and we thank God for what He has done for us all. We perform a traditional dance, eat, greet the elders and celebrate more… all this happens on the 26th of December and it’s a yearly celebration.”

Lastly, but certainly not least, Maycon Barbieri (goes by “M”) is a freshman computer science major from Brazil. Barbieri's family always celebrates for the holidays this time of year and he wrote that his favorite Christmas traditions are participating in Secret Santa and enjoying some Brazilian barbecue with his friends and family.

The HSU Brand staff would like to wish all HSU students, international students staff and faculty a Merry Christmas as we celebrate this time with our friends and family partaking in favorite holiday traditions, fellowship and the reason for the season.


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