Local family opens doors to foreign students

Sharing the Thanksgiving holiday and spirit with foreign students from Texas Tech allowed both students and family members to learn in one Lubbock home.

Karon and Brad Pettiet opened their doors to about 20 family members and two foreign students on Thanksgiving Day.

Juliet Kinyua, who is pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science, said Thanksgiving is not celebrated in her homeland of Kenya. The closest celebration they have in terms of meals is on Christmas.

Lauren Pettiet, a junior at Tech, spent part of her summer doing a mission trip to Kenya. She met Kinyua after her return, and said Kinyua had been asking her if her family took part in the big feast at Thanksgiving, so she invited her to come.

“She never has experienced this,” said Lauren.

Before the Pettiet family began eating, Kinyua compared her Christmas traditions with those of the family in the U.S.

Peilin Cao, a petroleum engineering student, cooked Chinese dumplings for the Thanksgiving dinner. The dumplings are common in Chinese celebrations, she said to the family as she stirred them in the kitchen.

Cao said she can adapt to traditions and cultures just about anywhere because her mother and father are from opposite ends of China, and she lived in different areas in China before she ever left home.

“I have been away from home more than five years,” she said. “I can get used to anywhere.”

Karon Pettiet said her family is becoming interested in foreign students largely because of Lauren, but she said the family is also involved in an outreach program through Bacon Heights Baptist Church to help out foreign students.

“They come literally with only a couple of suitcases and nothing else,” she said.

“It’s been very interesting to meet these young people. Our hopes are to build a relationship with them while they are here in Lubbock. They’re working on graduate degrees. They’re very smart,” she said.

“We look forward to getting to know them even better.”

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