Students and staff host holiday dinner for Ukrainian students Meal held at United College featured turkey, along with traditional Ukrainian fare

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Over 30 people gathered at Alumni Hall at United College over the holidays to share a special meal. Lisa ter Woort, international account manager and business developer with Co-operative and Experiential Education, organized the event because she wanted to ensure that Ukrainian students staying at the college had a way to celebrate the holidays when they were not all able to visit family or friends over the winter break. 

With help from Halyna Padalko, an MA student in global governance, and Harold Godwin, Managing Director of the Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute, ter Woort planned and executed a turkey dinner on December 26. Students staying at the college over the break helped prepare the turkeys along with traditional Ukrainian dishes.  

“It was absolutely amazing to prepare some Ukrainian salads that each of our students used to eat from our childhood for Christmas,” Padalko said. “It was something more than just Christmas dinner: it was an exchange of our cultures. We tried to go deeper to understand the history of both countries through our meal and how we prepared it.” 

Others brought their own dishes to contribute to the event, like United College Principal Rick Myers and his family, who brought homemade chilli.

While people were eating, Ukrainian songs and videos played in the background. Some of the videos were directed by students in attendance. After dinner, students sang Ukrainian carols, including the international classic “Carol of the Bells,” by Ukrainian composer Leontovych.