Cultural Experience | Africa

How to Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Abroad

What’s a college tourist to do when you’re globe trotting instead of turkey trotting?

While spending a semester in Europe or a year in the South Pacific there are bound to be American traditions and holidays that you’ll miss out on. This is especially true as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving – a holiday that so much encompasses family, friends, and home.

More how to celebrate Thanksgiving Abroad.

While you’re galavanting (*cough* studying *cough*) your way around Europe, it can be hard to remember our traditions back home. That being said, it can also bring on a case of homesickness if we focus too much on that which we are missing out. Your Thanksgiving abroad can be as fun and unique as your one back home! Here are 5 surefire ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving overseas:

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Catch Some Fútbol

Watching football teams throw around the ol’ pigskin on Thanksgiving is a tradition in many American households. That being said, football really isn’t that common outside of the U.S. This year, head to your local bar or stadium for some fútbol instead! It’s just as entertaining (if not more) and a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and maybe make a few friends!

Make Dinner For Your Host Family

You’ve spent the semester trying new food and drink from your host country, so why not give your host family a little taste of American Thanksgiving? While a full meal may be a bit hard to find, stop by the local market and see if they have some of the basics – cranberries, potatoes, and turkey. Bonus points if you find stuffing or pumpkin pie.

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Have Dinner With Your Friends

Thanksgiving is all about coming together in a community and celebrating family and friendships. Use this as an opportunity to have dinner with all of your friends from your time abroad. Whether it’s going out to a nice dinner or throwing together a homemade feast in your apartment, spend a night just enjoying the company of those around you. If you can’t be home for Thanksgiving, this is the next best thing.

Celebrate at a Festival

The end of November is usually when the Christmas markets and lights start popping up all over Europe. This November 24th, walk around your city taking in the Christmas lights, festivals, and food vendors. Go ice skating, eat roasted chestnuts, and buy some super cute ornaments that remind you of your second home as you return to the states for the holidays.

Last but not least,

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time dedicated to expressing gratitude for the things in your life and if there’s anything to be thankful for it’s a chance to study abroad. As your fall semester abroad comes to a close, head to your favorite spot in the city and create a list of the experiences, people, and memories that you are most thankful for. What was the best food you tried? The best friend you made? Give thanks for your host family and even the courses that you thought might kill you. List your favorite Spanish phrases or the things you’re going to miss most; your favorite cafés and the weirdest fashion statements. Whatever it is, use this time not only to show gratitude but also to reflect on your time abroad. Every moment (good and bad) is something to be thankful for, especially if you’re studying abroad.

We should also be thankful for the chance to return home at the end of our semester abroad. Home represents friends you’ve missed, pets you haven’t hugged in forever, your favorite foods, seasons you may not have experienced abroad, and your family. Be thankful for the amazing opportunities of being abroad, but don’t forget to count your blessings once you return to the familiar.

How To Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Abroad

Alyssa Benson

Indiana Wesleyan University | 7 stories

From the Great Lakes State all the way to Barcelona, Spain to study Strategic Communication and Intercultural Studies at the University of Barcelona. I am mildly obsessed with all things pineapples and am always on the hunt for the hidden cafes and viewpoints of my travels. 8 Countries and counting!

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