December can be a lonely time for international students. For one, the cost and time spent flying back to your home country can be too much. While it’s sad that you can’t visit your family, there are lots of ways to make the most of this season and have a happy and memorable one.
Share Your Holiday Traditions
You may be far from your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on your usual holiday traditions. One of the best things about being a foreign student is the fact that you can share your culture with other people. Spend the holiday with your friends around campus and show them what you usually do this time of the year.
Try cooking some traditional holiday food or teach them songs in your language. You can even try organizing school events with the help of your student services office to get more people involved.
Go on a Vacation
Holiday breaks usually last for a couple of weeks – perfect for going on a holiday. It’s hard to get time off when you’re studying and meeting deadlines, so now is the time for you to get to know your host country. You can spend this time exploring the city or going on a short trip to a nearby region or province. Even if you’re on a budget, a simple road trip or a few days at a ski resort will suffice.
Celebrate with Friends
If you have friends living nearby, there’s a good chance that they’ll invite you over to spend the holidays with them. Don’t hesitate to say yes if they ask you. You can experience firsthand what people in your host country do for the holidays. If your culture or religion doesn’t celebrate Christmas, then you can use this as an opportunity to learn more about the food, traditions, and merrymaking.
Join Other International Students
You’re not the only foreign student who has to be far from home for the holiday. If there are organized community groups in your college or university, then you can all meet up and spend the holidays together! That way you can still do all your local traditions while in a foreign land.
Another option is to get together with students from other countries, and you can all share a piece of your own cultures. Each person can cook one local dish, and you can share stories about past holidays spent in your respective countries.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Holidays are all about spreading love and joy, so why not use this time to give back to the less fortunate? Some people don’t have the luxury of a hot meal or even a roof over their head in the cold weather. You can make these times a little easier for them by volunteering in feeding programs. There are many different shelters and community centers that are looking for volunteers during this time. It may not be what you’re used to, but it makes your experience abroad a whole lot more meaningful.