The holidays can be a lonely time for people who are far away from home and family.
The Kansas University campus is quiet. Most students have gone home for the holidays. But for some the trip is too far to make.
So Wednesday, KU International Student Services threw a holiday celebration, with turkey and all the trimmings, for folks who don't call the United States home.
"We like to share the holiday spirit," said Mike Ediger, assistant director of International Student Services.
About 100 international students attended the dinner at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread. Prior to the meal, International Student Services showed an appropriately titled movie, "The Out of Towners."
"We know there's a lot of students who are not able to travel home during the holidays," said Joe Potts, director of International Student Services. "I've been away from home during the holidays before, and it's really a time you miss your family."
Potts said the dinner also was a way of showing appreciation to the international students and scholars who bring diversity to the university and the community. KU has 1,500 international students from 115 nations.
This is the first year for the dinner, but sponsors hope to continue the tradition next year, Potts said.
"The dinner gives them a chance to get to know one another," Potts said. "It gets quiet and lonely on campus around this time of year."
Yi-Yuan Xie, an international student attending the event, said holidays in the states weren't quite like those at home in China. Although he has a small family here, Xie said at times the holidays were lonely and attending the holiday meal helped ease the far-from-home blues by socializing with others in the same situation.
"At Christmas, we don't have any place to go," he said. "And that's the time that I really miss my parents."
Yi Yan, also from China, is spending his second Christmas in Lawrence. He hasn't been home to China in a year and a half, but he said he doesn't mind spending the holidays here.
"Lawrence is very hospitable," he said. "I hope all the people in Lawrence have happy holidays."
-- Katrina Hull is a journalism student at Kansas University and on an internship at the Journal-World.