Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. For many, it is a time to spend with family and friends, eat great food, and exchange gifts. However, for an international student studying in the United States, Christmas can be difficult. Plane ticket prices are high, so many students opt to spend their holiday away from their respective countries. However, there are ways to brighten the holiday up if you are an international student.
Find Out How Americans Celebrate Christmas
As you discover how Americans celebrate Christmas, it may surprise you to find out that many of the Christmas traditions in the U.S. are not much different from those in your native country. You will notice that Americans enjoy preparing food and gathering with family and friends for their Christmas dinner. Some attend church on Christmas Eve while others prefer to stay home. Decorations for Christmas trees and homes are a tradition as is baking cookies.
Staying on Campus
Although many international students go home for Christmas, there are students just like you who remain on campus for Christmas. Perhaps it is time to get together with some fellow students on campus and enjoy this time together? Chances are they are as confused as you are regarding the holiday so why not reach out to them and plan a fun time. Many universities plan Christmas events for students remaining on campus for Christmas so check to see if your school has anything planned. Take the initiative and schedule a Christmas dinner or party for other students staying on campus. Each person can prepare a dish or share a Christmas tradition. Enjoying each other’s company will help in easing the loneliness felt by being away from home.
Take a Christmas Trip
This Christmas could be the perfect time to visit a place you have always wanted to go. A fun trip is an ideal way to spend a memorable Christmas while staying too busy to be homesick. A snowy ski resort, shopping in a major city like New York, or even lying on a beach are all great ways to spend your Christmas away from home. No matter which destination you choose, chances are you will find festive celebrations and good times all over the country.
Go Home With a Friend
As you attend a university, remember that it is the ideal time to make friends with other international and native students. There may be an invitation to spend Christmas with a friend’s family. This invitation is an opportunity to experience new cultural traditions. Not to mention an incredible experience for an international student who has never celebrated Christmas.
Help Someone in Need
Spending Christmas away from home is lonely, and so is spending Christmas on the streets. Life is challenging for the homeless in America and this time of the year only magnifies feelings of isolation and despair. Volunteering this Christmas by helping those who are less fortunate is a fantastic way to spread the spirit of Christmas to all. Food and a place to sleep is something many of us take for granted, but for the homeless, it is the best gift they can receive. Just a few hours of your time could make a person’s entire year. Check in with your local community shelters for information about ways to help the less fortunate this Christmas.
Take Care of Yourself
As an international exchange student, you may find yourself in need of help. The last thing you want to do for your first Christmas abroad is to get sick. Not only will an illness put a stop to your fun time, but it may also cause financial strain. However, if you do become ill, exchange scholar health insurance can help you. J visa insurance provides illness and accident expense protection, can help you locate a doctor, and can pay for the treatment. Check out and be aware of what your health insurance policy covers.
Christmas is coming, and hopefully, your Christmas away from home will be unique. Whether you choose to stay on campus celebrating with friends, take that dream trip, or help those who desperately need help, make this holiday a memorable one. Merry Christmas!