Christmas is a holiday often spent with family and loved ones, and for students studying abroad, deciding what to do over Christmas can be quite a concern. If you find yourself in this predicament, the first question you really need to ask yourself is whether or not you need/want to go home.
Travelling home for the holidays is the obvious choice for students who have close relationships with their family, relatives and friends back home. Many international students prefer this option because of the extended period of time they’ve already spent away from home and their loved ones.
If you are one of those students, the next question you need to ask yourself is, “Is it feasible?” Take into consideration your academic schedule and the cost of going home. Normally, each university has its own official end of term schedule. Some universities may still hold classes and exams right before Christmas, and some of your classes may require coursework to be submitted over the Christmas break. If you’ve made sure that all classes, exams and coursework will be done in time for you to be able to travel home and enjoy the holidays, then you can start thinking about your budget.
Travelling throughout the Christmas period can be fairly expensive, so shopping around for the cheapest deals and getting your travel booked early is a must.
If you find that your university schedule won’t be able to accommodate travel plans or that the travel tickets are too expensive, you can consider spending Christmas where you are.
Worries about missing your family during the holiday season can be mitigated somewhat using modern technology such as Skype, FaceTime and Viber, which have made it possible to stay connected. There’s also no need to be anxious about spending the holidays alone. Chances are, there are many other international students who are in the same situation, and the university’s international students’ group will usually have something planned, such as a Christmas dinner, gift giving or social gatherings.
Aside from being the cheaper and more practical option, students studying abroad choose to stay over the holidays so they can experience another country’s traditions when it comes to Christmas celebrations. Many countries celebrate Christmas differently, and so experiencing an alternative cultural Christmas can be an added benefit to any study abroad student.
If you have a student visa or a work permit for your study abroad destination then you may also find another benefit in staying over the holidays; work! A lot of retailers, bars and restaurants will hire temporary staff to help out with the Christmas rush, giving many people the opportunity to earn some money over the holidays. Aside from filling your pockets with some extra cash, it will also be a great way for you to use the local language, so keep on the lookout for seasonal positions or ask around about who’s hiring.
Deciding what to do over Christmas can take a lot of thought, and the best way to get to an answer is by finding out exactly what you want to do and if you can make it happen, money and schedule-wise. The thing to remember is to be open about other options.
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