Future-Focused Friday: Things That Helped Us Kick Off the Holiday Season

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IES Abroad

Well hello, December! ☃️

The last month of 2020 is finally upon us—how's your ✨holiday spirit✨ holding up this year? Are you feeling happier than Buddy finding the World's Best Cup of Coffee or more like the Grinch consulting his "busy" schedule? (Perhaps like that time he tried yoga? Yeah. We've felt that way too.)

For better or worse, the holidays continue to look different this year. And while it's easy to get stuck in a feeling of loss when things don't happen as planned, we're firm believers in celebrating the good. Which is why this issue is dedicated to finding joy this season (even though we know it may feel like an uphill climb on Table Mountain).

What traditions, new and old, are we embracing as this year?

🎶 Building the perfect playlist to bring the holiday feels. Add an international twist by listening to some tunes in SpanishArabicPortuguese, or Korean!

🎄 Decorating with lights, trees, or just a really great-smelling candle (because science says it can boost your happy hormones).

❄️ Getting outside to enjoy the snow—because you're never too old for a good old-fashioned snowball fight!

🧣 Whether you practice hygge or "New Cozy"—making a space that is extra comfy. Soft blankets, marshmallows + hot cocoa, a pump of peppermint in your coffee, a crackling fireplace (even if it's virtual), and binging a good book or holiday movie marathon can really boost the soul in Wintertime.

Don't be shy, you can try these too! As always, we're here with some cheer to bring some study abroad inspired light until the days actually get lighter and you can travel to your favorite Winter destinations again.

Want more insight into Catalonia's beloved (and sometimes quirky) traditions or just a new recipe to try?

They say the best way to bring cheer is singing loud for all to hear...so our determined Barcelona Center staff brought it to st

Get inspired by perfectly curated global holiday décor via a virtual walkthrough of this Christmas Around the World and Holidays

Who knew a 💩 log in Spain could be so...festive?

Check out the celebrations and traditions from around the globe. 🌍

Explore Italy's famous Winter Market in a live interactive event with our Milan Center Director

“'I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams….'
The iconic sentence sings repeatedly in the background noise of the Starbucks, a painful reminder of the sacrifice I am making to be separated from my friends and family. Pretty Paris Christmas lights really can’t make up for the love that surrounds a family during the holiday. While for many people such as myself being separated from family at this time seems necessary, thus creating the very phrase “if only in my dreams…”, we can at least work actively to not spend the holidays alone. Facetime definitely helps, but also, as I look around the Paris streets, I see a world of possibilities and amazing, foreign Christmas experiences that are available to me as a solo traveler, if I just open up to them.”
Miah Tapper (IES Abroad Nantes | Kenyon College)

Check out the #IESabroad feed—and learn how to say "thank you" in a new language on our Instagram story.

The best gift this season is hope—for a bright future and a world waiting to be explored again.

Are you ready?

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P.S. Keep away the winter blues by starting to plan for an amazing summer.☀️ Join our 30-minute Zoom Around the World session about Summer Internships abroad on Tuesday, December 8th.

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