It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are just around the corner. We can already feel the December chill, experience the longer nights and shorter days, and enjoy the company of people who seem to be kinder when it’s the holiday season. 

For some international students or foreign exchange students, coming home during the holidays or in time for the new year simply isn’t realistic. Living or staying on foreign soil, especially during the holidays, often highlights the feeling of alienation or emptiness, and many students simply miss being back home. 

Now, don’t fret, here are some suggestions to feel the cheer during the holiday spirit despite being thousands of miles away from home: 

1. Decorate Your Room or Living Space

If you miss the holiday celebration back at home, why don’t you re-create the decorations in your own room or living space back home? This could be both an enjoyable and memorable experience. It is also fulfilling knowing that you’re able to give your student space its own character. It’s a unique activity that will make your space a home away from home. 

2. Discover the Holiday or Christmas Culture in Your Host Country 

The holiday season is celebrated globally and it’s almost certain that celebrations differ in one way or another. This is the perfect opportunity to discover the holiday traditions of your host country. Experience this merry season in a whole new light and widen your perspective and worldview through your host country’s food and delicacies, regional celebrations, people, and holiday quirks. 

3. Take a Christmas Tour 

Take a free or affordable holiday tour around your city. Huge transformations happen to places whenever the holiday season approaches, so this is a good time to enjoy places like public parks, ski resorts, museums, and other public spaces. If you’re from a tropical country and are studying in a country that experiences winter, try a new winter adventure each year. Enrich yourself with memories and experiences the new and exciting way. 

4. Volunteer for A Local Charitable Cause 

The essence of the holidays is sharing and giving, and there’s no better way to spend it than by giving your time, talent, and effort to others in need. If you’re up for it, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, home for the elderly, or pet shelter. Discover the stories of people who you do not interact with every day. Learn their struggles and make them smile. The holiday season is often cruel to people who are living in poverty or people who have been abandoned, so a little warmth and compassion from you will go a long way. 

There are still a lot of things that you can do to make your holiday overseas a special one. What’s important to remember is that no matter where we are or who we are with, we don’t forget the true meaning of this season. Happy holidays!