If you’re someone who loves celebrating Christmas among familiar faces and home comforts, but you’re studying abroad and can’t afford the flight back home, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, this is one of the harsh realities many international students face year after year.
Due to the increased plane prices during December and the rush to book early bird tickets, some students have no other choice but to spend their festive month on campus or at a nearby hostel.
After strenuous months of study, sometimes all you need is to shut off from the world and reconnect to your life back home.
Of course, campus events and Christmas parties can be fun, but what happens when everyone else goes back to their family homes for the festivities?
Highlighting this concern is The Collegian, explaining that, “For the fall 2018 semester, Fresno State (US) has 808 international students from 80 countries, and according to International Student Adviser Jamie Jones, an estimated half of them don’t get to travel home for winter break.”
To tackle this issue, the featured university has established an innovative International Friendship Programme which matches international students with American families.
As an initiative built for international students, the programme successfully develops friendships and connections that can help ease culture-shock and to provide support for students who are missing home.
“A friendship family is also a significant resource for international students, as Jones noted that studies have indicated roughly 40 percent of international students don’t make an American friend,” the article adds.
So, if these friendship frameworks are producing positive results, shouldn’t all universities be implementing them over the upcoming Christmas weeks?
Alternatively, if your university hasn’t started any international student Christmas comfort projects, perhaps you could start one of your own?
Even if you’re okay with staying alone during the break, it’s likely that other international students aren’t going to enjoy it and need the company and support.
For inspiration, take a look at the tweets below.
Are you an international student? And would you like to have a Christmas dinner with a heartwarming family in The Netherlands? Don’t hesitate to join the Christmas Holiday Hosting Program! https://t.co/XDPSnyoJBP
— Leiden in Indonesia (@LeidenIndonesia) December 11, 2018
International Student House is open 25 Dec! Enjoy a three course Christmas Lunch, Queen’s Speech and movie marathon. Book by Mon 17 Dec 🎄🍽️
More info: https://t.co/9sr6j57Ic5 pic.twitter.com/SM1W69oGTC
— Imperial Student Hub (@icstudenthub) December 12, 2018
The International Student Christmas Party is underway!!! 🎄✨ pic.twitter.com/zjo1T6WOHb
— MPW Birmingham (@MPWBirmingham) December 4, 2018
Our @WarwickEngineer blogger & international student Jane won’t be going home over the Christmas break.
— University of Warwick (@warwickuni) December 18, 2017
With so many advantages to staying at your university over Christmas, you could start a host-family dinner programme, host international student parties and even friendly plant-sitting schemes!