Cultural Experience | Rome

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving when You’re Abroad

How do you celebrate Turkey Day when there is no Turkey Day?

If you’re studying abroad for the entire Fall semester, then come October you’ll start getting those Fall time holiday jitters. There may be some Halloween events on a small scale depending where you are, but if you’re outside the States, you’ll get an ache for the Thanksgiving gathering everyone at home will soon be preparing for. Here are some ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving while abroad!

Skype it in!  With the time difference I Skyped my family in the early afternoon while they were at Thanksgiving dinner. It was so nice to see everyone, and I could almost smell the green bean casserole through my computer screen.

Friendsgiving! For Thanksgiving day organize a “Friendsgiving”!  During my Fall semester in Germany, all the Americans made sure we would have a joint Thanksgiving. The other Americans were excited to have a little “home away from home”, and the local and international students got a chance to celebrate a new holiday.  Prepare your own Thanksgiving dinner. We had students from America, Germany, Turkey, Iran, and Romania all come together to celebrate in my apartment. None of us had an oven, so there was no turkey, but there were A LOT of pretzels and local cuisine from the German students. I brought apple strudel, my German twist for apple pie.  The Thanksgiving story was retold and we all went around and said what we were thankful for.

DIY Thanksgiving  After your meal, while you’re having a fun time chatting it up, this could also be a great time to do a DIY project like a mood board.  Have everyone write down their favorite moment so far from study abroad and put the quotes all together on a collage. The collage could be copies of people’s favorite photos that get shared.

Get out of Town!  Celebrate Thanksgiving by planning a trip! The day after my “Friendsgiving” I left for a solo trip to Rome. Thanksgiving revolves around delicious food and I made sure my trip to Rome did as well. I saw the Colosseum and the Vatican and made amazing friends while I was there. I celebrated Thanksgiving with three days of endless bruschetta, pizza, pasta, and gelato. Take a trip where you want to indulge in the local cuisine and treat yourself to a delicious dinner for an adventurous Thanksgiving!

Between hearty German pretzels and endless authentic Italian food, I got to celebrate with local cuisine in two different cultures.

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Give the holiday your own spin, and make it a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget. Wherever you may find yourself, enjoy the food, and give thanks for the opportunity to experience Thanksgiving abroad!

For more: Study Abroad Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Make your own care package and start cooking.


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Samantha McIsaac

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | 9 stories

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