The holiday season is coming up and even though it is one of the most beautiful times of the year, for some it is also a difficult time when it comes to being homesick.
Holidays are a special moment that you get to spend with your family. Being abroad is an awesome experience to expand your horizons but that also means being far from home. During this season, plane tickets can be expensive and going back to your home country is not easy. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy the festivities on your side! Here are some tips to help get you started with your Christmas spirit away from home!
1. Make yourself feel at home
Christmas is a very visual festivity, so to begin the celebration it is a good idea to fill your home with decorations to start warming up. If you share an apartment, you can get a tree and decorate it with your flatmates! It’s a fun activity to do together and let’s face it, the tree is the symbol of Christmas. Another important element of Christmas is the smell of it, freshly baked cookies, hot cocoa and many more remind us that Santa Claus is coming to town. While you are decorating don’t forget to turn up the music and sing along to your favourite Christmas songs and carols!
2. Stay Connected
Distance is always difficult and with family, as in every relationship, it is important to feel that you care about each other. At this time of the year, technology will be your best friend. Send messages and pictures to share this new experience with your loved ones and also schedule video-calls with the ones back home. Even social media apps are all for being creative this time of the year! From Rudolf filters to adding a joyful song on your Instagram Stories, there are many opportunities to take the holiday spirit to a whole new level!
3. Friends are the family you choose
While being abroad, friends become your family and the holiday season is also a great opportunity to get to know them better and spend some quality time together. Some of them might be in the same situation as you are, so it’s a good idea to gather and spend Christmas together. An awesome way to show your friends how much you care, while being on a budget, is to do a Secret Santa, that way everyone gets a present that you can all be thankful for!
4. Participate in local activities
This season is a reflection of the country’s culture and it’s an amazing opportunity to discover it at its best. Best food of the year? Yes, is Christmas food. Go to a restaurant or a local Christmas’ market and try it! Sometimes, associations or even the city hall create special events like dinners or galas where you can try them all! As a student abroad, parties are also important. At bars and nightclubs, they tend to throw themed parties so you can always keep partying with the Christmas spirit and new friends.
5. Start a new tradition
It’s not because you don’t have a tree that you are not going to celebrate, you can have a cactus or a pineapple and some neon lights and still get to enjoy Christmas. You could also try to reinvent your home country’s traditions with what you have at your new home and make up your own version of Christmas! There is no better time to relax with a movie than during the cold days try watching a marathon of Christmas movies with a cosy blanket and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The most important part is that you don’t forget that Home is where your heart is and that, during this time of the year, you’ll never be alone because the Christmas spirit will always be with you!
Thanks for reading this post!
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Ivana is a Political Sciences student currently doing her third year of Bachelor’s with the Erasmus exchange programme in Lisbon. Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela and studying in a French school, allowed her to apprehend the world in a very unique way. Her eager to discover new cultures and her passion for writing, took her path to the world of journalism. She is looking forward to share her stories about her experiences abroad and today more than ever, she has a lot say!