How to Celebrate Holidays While Living Abroad

When you go to study abroad, just because you are not in India does not mean you cannot enjoy the festive spirit and have a blast celebrating holidays while abroad. When you move abroad, the excitement of living in a new culture is in exploring and joining the celebration of the local holidays and traditions of the new country. Some of these experiences will provide lifelong memories.

celebrate holidays while living abroad

Getting into the local foreign culture is a great way to adapt to the new life, but maintaining your own cultural traditions abroad is equally important. When your Facebook feed is full of celebratory pictures and parties back home, you will feel nostalgic but remember, you can also celebrate your national festival abroad easily enough and double the celebrations by celebrating the local festivities as well.

Celebrating your traditions helps keep you well connected to your own culture, while learning to adapt to a newer one. This is important especially when you are going through phases of cultural shock that do affect almost all of the international students abroad. Also, celebrating foreign holidays make you feel connected to the new place and foreign culture.

Here are some tips for how to celebrate holidays while studying abroad.

Decorate your place – Do a bit of festive decorations in your space like decorate a little Christmas tree, light candles, and bake cookies for Christmas or host a Diwali party for your foreign friends. Doing this will make you anticipate the holiday season. Your decorated place will draw in more friends with no place to go for the holidays, which will make everything even happier.

Stay in touch with your folks back home – on the day of celebration, Skype or FaceTime with your family and involve them with your festivities. Whether it is celebrating an Indian festival or a foreign one, the most important thing is that you shouldn’t be alone on the day.  In a sense you will be there, you will be involved, and that’s good enough for most.

Explore a new place – If being alone in the foreign country is not making you happy, consider taking a trip somewhere out of the city you are in. Explore another part of the country that you’ve always wanted to explore. Since your college will probably be off for holidays, you can make plans for your off days. You will get to explore the new place and city, and the thrill of traveling to the new place will cheer you up no time. The new places and experiences will add to your growth as an international student.

Copy celebrations at home – Identify what you love about holidays, and focus on those things. These could be pre festival celebrations, making food for, giving and receiving gifts, watching movies together, playing festive music etc. consider the important parts about the festival and how are they important to you, and find ways in which you can include those things in your festivities abroad. Ask all your Indian and foreign friends to help you with doing all these things together. This way you will feel a lot closer to your new friends and will not feel as homesick as you would if you didn’t do these activities.

Celebrate foreign festivals as well – if you are in a totally new and different culture, you need to accept the differences and start enjoying them too. If your foreign friends invite you over to their houses to celebrate a local festival or tradition, go ahead and join in. It is only going to add onto your international experience and you will not feel left out during the holiday season. Just because you are new to the culture doesn’t mean you can’t try and celebrate the newer traditions.

Continue living your culture – It is important to include all your friends in the celebrations. Like you are new to the local culture, the local students are also unaware of the Indian culture and customs. So invite all your Indian friends and foreign friends and celebrate a festival from India together. This will make you a part of a larger group of community with Indian and foreign nationals and the homesickness will go away in no time. Once you start explaining your culture to the newer people, you will feel a lot closer to your roots.

Think of the future – think of when you will go back home, you will have so many new stories and experiences to tell your family back home. You will be able to celebrate the festivals with them sooner or later. But this exercise will enrich your study abroad experience and you will have a newer understanding of looking at different cultures. The more you meet new people and look at life from their viewpoint, you more you will enrich your own life and personality.

Author Bio:

Harleen is a voracious reader and loves fiction. She’s also a Marvel, Japanese Anime and Manga geek. Given a choice she would spend her life tucked away in the serenity of the English countryside.

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