Living away from home can be difficult enough at the best of times, even more so when you’re in another country! No matter how used to it you might be, there’s always something to remind you of home and make you feel homesick – and for American postgrads, this is often Thanksgiving. Traditionally a time spent with lots of family and friends and an abundance of food, it can get pretty lonely when you’re in another country.
Luckily, most university student unions are used to this by now, and often set up Thanksgiving parties of their own! It might not be quite the same, but why not take the opportunity to celebrate with all your fellow American students? This can be a great chance to meet others in your year that you might not have encountered, as well as being around people who'll understand what it's like to be away from family on this holiday. You could also take the opportunity to invite some of your new-found friends from other countries to come along and find out how to celebrate Thanksgiving the all-American way!
Of course, this isn’t the only way to celebrate Thanksgiving whilst you’re away from home – why not take the opportunity to try something a bit different? Make the day about your new friends, and teach them a little bit about what Thanksgiving actually is. Most students will jump at the chance to celebrate something, especially when they’ll be aware of it from media. But just how can you go about celebrating it on a student budget, in a different country?
Invite people to come, and ask for their help. If you’re going for the full-on experience, assign different people different things to cook. Why not expand the usual style into letting everyone express something from their own area? You might end up with a bit of a strange combination – curries and pasta as well as the more traditional turkey, for instance – but that’ll make it feel all the more special for you and your friends.
In a way, the shopping is going to be easier – because Thanksgiving isn’t as much of a thing outside of America, you won’t be competing against everyone else in your city for that perfect turkey! However, this does mean you need to plan ahead and check what you can get, and where from. We recommend going to local butchers rather than supermarkets for the turkey itself – you’ll get a much higher quality, plus you can order them some time in advance.
Make Some New Traditions
Why not take the time to make some new traditions? If your family had certain things they’d do – perhaps going round the table saying what they were thankful for, or having certain board games they always play, you could introduce these to your friends. Or you could spend some time making up new ones with them. This is a great way to reduce homesickness – rather than thinking about all the past Thanksgivings you’ve had with one group, you get to start a whole new bunch of memories with a new group!
Enthusiasm is Key
There’s no use getting involved in something like this if you’re going to be half-hearted about it. Thanksgiving is a celebration, so treat it like one! Don't worry about getting things wrong – as long as you through yourself wholly into it, it’ll be appreciated. The key things to remember is that the company is more important than anything else, and that with the right people you can still have an amazing Thanksgiving sharing some Pot Noodles if it comes to it!
You Can Celebrate Even If You're Not From The US
But what if you’re not an American, and you’re not familiar with the tradition – but you still want to put this celebration in your international calendar? Don't worry, you can still have fun celebrating. In fact, if you have American friends, take advantage of the chance to cheer them up and pitch in to help.