As Christmas preparations are in full swing and everybody is shopping for gifts or Christmas party essentials, it’s time to make the most out of spending the holidays abroad. During this time of the year, we all get a chance to spend festive, memorable times with our loved ones. If you are studying abroad, feeling homesick is off the table this year. Consider this as a chance to discover how not spending Christmas at home is different. Practice self-exploration and monitor the activities that you will choose to participate in away from your family.
Did you know that every year 4 out of each 10 British people consider the idea of spending Christmas abroad? Spending a significant time of the year, like Christmas, elsewhere, will have a considerable impact on your character and your perspective of the world around you. Here’re some quick tips on enjoying Christmas abroad:
1. Spend Quality Time with Friends On-Campus
Although some international students will go home for the holidays, there will be numerous students staying on-campus. Taking this into account, some universities plan annual Christmas activities, so you can get to enjoy Christmas away from home. Durham University, for example, prepares an annual Christmas dinner for students. To find out if your university hosts Christmas events or not, feel free to check with the on-campus student affairs office or try digging through your university’s website. If not, one of your flatmates must have some activities at their university, ask them to go with them and blast it!
2. Plan Christmas Shopping Spree with Flatmates
What’s better than shopping at Christmas? That's when the shops usually have the best bargains, discounts, individual Christmas surprise boxes, and crazy brand sales. So to immerse yourself in the holiday mood, plan a crazy shopping spree with your flatmates before Christmas day. Check the best shops around your student home and break that secret Piggybank to shop. Simply browse through the ultimate selection of goods available in stores and hunt down the best prices for that bag you always wanted or that phone accessory you planned to buy. It is easy to find whatever you wish at astonishing prices right before Christmas, so prepare to shop till you drop! Remember to use your international student card to get more offers and discounts. You can check The Art of Choosing Christmas Gifts blog if you get stuck while shopping for gifts.
3. Video Call Your Family on Christmas
We all miss our families during holidays and festive events; therefore, to overcome homesickness during Christmas, you have to feel connected to your family. A video call through any popular app or an SNS account will help you explore the festive atmosphere both at home and wherever you are. If you have already sent Christmas gifts to your family beforehand, you can see them opening the presents live.
4. Participate in a Unique Christmas Tradition
Isn’t it astonishing how the same occasion is celebrated differently in each land around the globe? While studying abroad, you have a chance to observe the unique Christmas traditions of the area you are in. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and the cultural and entertaining festivities of the place you are living in. Every country has its unique Christmas experience, so make use of the opportunity and spend a novel Christmas wherever you are.
You might want to go to the beach as Christmas in Australia is in summer. "All the family's there, sitting by the pool, Christmas Day the Aussie way, by the barbecue." This is the Jingle Bell lyrics in Australia!
If you are curious about some various Christmas traditions, read our Various Christmas Traditions Around the Globe blog.
5. Prepare a Student Potluck Christmas Dinner
What’s the use of the holidays if it’s without a killer student Christmas dinner party? Other than being super-fun and unforgettable, potluck Christmas dinners with flatmates and friends bring the best culinary skills out of everyone. If you are living in a multi-cultural student home where all your flatmates and colleagues come from different parts of the world, even better! If you wish to keep it on a small-scale, you might want to make a list of what each of your flatmates can cook and what are the big no-nos. Food allergies should be taken into account, so you all know which ingredients to include and which ones to exclude. If all the party participants you’re inviting share the same communal kitchen, make sure to schedule cooking your meals at different timings.
If your student housing has a spacious communal kitchen for all its residents, you can go for a larger-scale Christmas party. Invite all the students to the communal area after decorating it and cooking enough food for everyone. The more, the merrier!