[Emily Alvarenga | Contributing Writer]
As the weather starts to plunge and everyone begins to put up decorations, we realise it’s that magical time of year, and it’s easy to see why people love it. But for many international students, this will be the first time you’re away from home for Christmas. It won’t be easy, but there are so many ways to take make the most of it, and here is a list of things you can do:
Keep an open mind: one of the best things about being abroad for the holidays is that you can keep it simple. As merry as Christmas can be, it can also be quite stressful. Being abroad gives you the opportunity to avoid the stress and embrace the fun. You may never be back in the UK again, so treat it just like any other day and remind yourself to enjoy the time you have here.
Treat yourself: after all it is Christmas, isn’t it? Make this year all about you! Give yourself something to look forward to, whether that means getting dressed up and going to a fancy dinner or ordering the biggest pizza you can find and binge watching Christmas movies.
Stick to your traditions: it’s surprisingly easy to bring your Christmas traditions with you! If you’re used to having your home decorated for the holidays, what’s stopping you from doing just that? By surrounding yourself with familiar holiday decorations, you’re sure to feel more at home. And if you usually go ice skating every year, find an ice rink and keep that tradition alive. Some traditions may be harder to replicate than others, but even the slightest taste of home will make all the difference.
Discover new ones: exploring can lead you to discovering new traditions you may even want to adopt for years to come. London is magical during the holidays. The whole city is decorated and there are various Christmas events, like holiday markets and pantomimes. Do some research and you’re sure to find some unique English traditions to enjoy.
Plan a special trip: splurge on your own dream Christmas, wherever that may be. Save some money and go somewhere you’ve wanted to go since before you can remember! Maybe that’s to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, where you can have Christmas dinner in the Great Hall of Hogwarts! Or go to Spain where you can spend Christmas in the sun and on the beach. The University even does various trips to cool places – check them out here! You may find yourself not even give a second thought to the holiday celebrations going on back home.
Call your family: if nothing seems to be helping and your homesickness has reached it’s limit, just pick up the phone and call or Skype your family. Keeping in touch with your loved ones will make surviving Christmas so much easier, and it’s normal to miss them. You can even plan ahead, meaning you can have Christmas dinner or open presents together over Skype. Some of you might have families in different time zones, but getting up at 3am will definitely be worth it!
It may be tough, but take advantage of being abroad and make your own unique holiday memories. Remember how lucky you are to be travelling, and you never know, this Christmas may surprise you! With any luck, being homesick won’t even cross your mind. Merry Christmas and happy travels!
Are you an international student? What are you doing this Christmas? Let us know @TridentMediaUK