Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Holiday Season Abroad

It’s officially that wonderful time of the year here in London. Christmas decorations have been going up around the city almost since the first week of November; the stores have had them out even longer. Despite what my British friends had told me about the unlikelihood of seeing snow in London before January, it’s flurrying as I type this. Compared to what I’m used to, the three inches on the ground doesn’t seem like all that much, but from the way that everyone else is reacting, you’d think that a massive blizzard had hit, and that we were under white out conditions. There are delays on all of the tube lines, two airports are closed, and several over ground trains aren’t running. Still, the overall atmosphere is cheerful. The pubs have put out special deals on hot chocolate and other wintery beverages, and I personally can’t wait to taste the cranberry and cinnamon cider that I’ve seen advertised; I definitely also will need to try ordering a Christmas pudding the next time I go down the road to my favorite pub. Everyone seems intent on having a good time, so long as they can stay warm.


One of the things that I should have expected, and should have been prepared for, was the lack of Thanksgiving. When I was leaving the US, I knew that I’d be celebrating my birthday far away from my friends and family, but Thanksgiving had somehow slipped my mind. The usual reminder for me the that we’re getting close to that holiday are the store decorations; but of course those aren’t seen here in the UK. Rather, the stores go straight from Halloween to Christmas, with a small break in between for the 5th of November, Bonfire Night. It wasn’t until I started seeing Facebook statuses concerning Thanksgiving break at my school back home that it really hit me how much I was going to miss the food, family, and traditions associated with the holiday. Since reading about my friends back home baking and cooking with their families, I’ve had this insatiable craving my candied yams and pumpkin pies.

The Ifsa-Butler Thanksgiving Dinner that I went to was absolutely amazing; the food couldn’t have been any better, and I had fun with the friends that I’ve made here. However, the set meals we could choose from didn’t include all of the favorites that I grew up on. Mostly importantly though, it didn’t include the family or friends that I normally celebrate with. Still, I had fun, and I’m enjoying my time here in London. The sadness about missing out on my usual Thanksgiving festivities is only a small part of my story here, and I’ll just have to make up for the times I’m missing with friends back home by celebrating extra hard next year. And at the least, I’ll be home just in time for Christmas, with amazing stories about my adventures for everyone to hear.


While I chose the turkey meal, my friend Anya opted for a slightly less traditional Thanksgiving


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