Spending the Holidays Abroad

Elizabeth Thies
December 9, 2019
Belfast Christmas Market

Holidays are a time that you sit around with friends and family sharing memories and traditions that make you feel at home. But maybe this year you won’t be home for the holidays. It is very likely that while you are abroad you will experience at least one holiday away from home. Being away when all your friends and families are celebrating without you can be hard. You will probably be homesick and that is okay.

This does not mean you have to sit around sulking during the holiday. Remember that your new friends you have made from your program are going through the same thing. You can cure the homesickness together. Living in another place somewhere else in the world is both a curse and a blessing. On one hand, you may feel homesick, but on the other hand, you have a chance to experience that culture’s holiday traditions. Get together with your friends and find a way to celebrate together by incorporating a tradition you love and adding in a new tradition!

For example, I was in Stockholm, Sweden for Thanksgiving. All I wanted was to be sitting around a table surrounded by my entire family with a plate full of turkey, mashed potatoes, my grandfather’s stuffing, and a slice of pie. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a traditional Thanksgiving meal anywhere. Instead, I settled for a plate of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and pickled cucumbers. It was surprisingly extremely good and even resembled the warm, heartiness of Thanksgiving! It turned out to be a really amazing Thanksgiving despite being over 4,000 miles away from home.

Another great European holiday tradition I have grown to love are the Christmas markets. On the weekends my friends and I go to check them out, get some amazing food and soak up the Christmas spirit. I have officially been to seven different markets in seven different countries. Each one is unique and offers something different than the last. I really wish this was a common thing back home in the states because I cannot remember the last time I was this excited for the holidays. It just goes to show that the holidays spent abroad can be just as special as the ones spent at home. You can form new traditions with your study abroad family and remember that your family back home misses you just as much as you do. You will be home soon enough, and the homesickness is only temporary! Get out there and make some memories and enjoy your time abroad while it lasts.

Happy Holidays!

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Elizabeth Thies

<p>My name is Elizabeth Thies and I am originally from Medina, Ohio but I now live in Washington, D.C. as a rising senior at George Washington University studying International Affairs. I am passionate about traveling and learning foreign languages as I speak English and Spanish while learning Russian and German. I also really love staying active and am on GW's Women's Club Volleyball team and am an avid SCUBA diver. Spending time with animals (dogs are my favorite) never fails to make my day! Lastly, I am a huge book geek and am constantly reading my favorite genre of historical non-fiction.</p>

2019 Fall
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Medina, OH
International Affairs
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