How to Spend Christmas as an International Student in the UK – Christmas in the UK has its own traditional allure that enchants both locals and foreigners alike. But what happens when you’re an international student, far from home and unfamiliar with the local customs?
Fear not, because spending Christmas in the UK can be a magical experience filled with new traditions, festive events, and a unique blend of cultural immersion. Below are tailored suggestions to make your Yuletide season in the UK unforgettable.
Carol Singing: Attend a carol service at one of the historic cathedrals. It’s a melodious way to get into the Christmas spirit and appreciate the history of English architecture.
Christmas Markets: Explore festive markets to shop for handcrafted gifts, seasonal treats, and mulled wine. Cities like Manchester and Birmingham host exceptional Christmas markets.
Panto’ Theatres: Experience the unique British tradition of Pantomime shows, a quirky blend of musical comedy theater meant for all ages.
Winter Wonderland: In London, Hyde Park transforms into a Winter Wonderland, complete with ice skating, festive rides, and holiday shops.
Northern Lights in Scotland: Head north to witness the ethereal Northern Lights. Just remember to bundle up—it’s cold!
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: Stick around for New Year’s Eve and participate in Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay celebration.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: During the holiday season, Kew Gardens in London becomes a magical place, illuminated by over a million twinkling lights. The themed trails and special installations offer a serene yet festive atmosphere.
Bath Christmas Market: Located near the historic Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, this market offers a unique setting. The wooden chalets are filled with artisan goods, making it the perfect place for holiday shopping and soaking in the festive atmosphere.
Many universities organize Christmas events, dinners, or trips specifically for international students. Participate in these events to forge new friendships and create a sense of community.
Potluck Dinner: Invite friends and flatmates for a potluck dinner where each one brings a dish from their home country. It’s a fantastic way to share cultural traditions.
Christmas Movie Marathon: Host a movie night featuring international Christmas films to see how different cultures celebrate the holiday.
Homemade Decor: Show off your creative skills by crafting your own holiday decorations. Use available materials to make wreaths, ornaments, or even a mini Christmas tree. This is not just cost-effective but also gives a personal touch to your celebrations.
Virtual Family Gathering: Use video conferencing tools like Zoom to have a virtual Christmas meal with your family back home. You can even open gifts together online to make the day special despite the distance.
Recipe Swap: Invite friends to swap traditional Christmas recipes and spend an evening cooking or baking these dishes. It’s a delicious way to understand various Christmas foods around the world right from your own kitchen.
These extra points offer more variety to your DIY celebrations and help make your Christmas season uniquely special.
The Christmas season is also about giving back. Volunteer at a local charity or food bank to make a difference in someone’s life.
Plan a Quick Getaway
If you’ve got a little extra time and budget, consider taking a short trip to Europe. Many cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin are just a train ride away and have their own unique Christmas celebrations.
Christmas in the UK doesn’t have to be a solitary or foreign experience. By immersing yourself in local traditions, participating in university events, and maybe even jetting off for a brief European adventure, you can make this holiday season a magical one to remember.
Best Places To Be In UK This Christmas
Can international students work full-time during the Christmas holidays in the UK?
Your university will provide official course dates, and Christmas, Easter, and Summer holidays are all officially outside of term time, meaning you can work full-time if you’ve successfully completed all of your work.
How long is Christmas break in UK colleges?
Schools in England and Wales usually have two-week holidays for Christmas and Easter, a break of around six weeks for summer, and week-long breaks halfway through each of the three terms.
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