International students celebrate first 4th of July parade

Most Americans celebrate the 4th of July by attending a parade or picnic. But, on Tuesday, many international students got to celebrate Independence Day for the first time.

The streets of St. Anthony Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, became a classroom for some as they witnessed American traditions in the form of songs, food and more.

“I learned a lot of things here,” said Hao Song, a University of Minnesota student from China. “Americans are very patriotic because I’ve seen - even half an hour before the parade - already a bunch of people here, which is kind of impressive.”

Song is one of several dozen students from about 25 different countries who attended their first 4th of July celebration.

“I think it’s a great day for Americans. As we can see here, many people celebrate this day because it’s their country,” said student Abdullah al Rawahi from Oman.

All the students are taking English classes through the College of Continuing Education, and for 11 years, their professor Mike Anderson has taken his students to the parade.

“We come to the parade on the 4th of July so that students can experience what it’s like in America on the 4th of July and how we celebrate Independence Day,” Anderson said.

The students also took time to reflect on what they like about the U.S. so far.

“For me, the Americans know how to enjoy their lives," Song said.

“The thing I like about the Americans, they’re open minded. They accept any idea from any people," al Rawahi added.