This week was Thanksgiving weekend and since we could not spend it with our families we had a little Italian friendsgiving. The thing is I feel like all of us were a little bummed about not being able to be home for Thanksgiving. It is not necessarily homesickness, it is more that during the holiday season we are all used to our family traditions and not being able to be around them is a little difficult. I did not really think I would feel any sign of homesickness when I came here because I thought that by being at Drexel, which is across the country from my family, that I would be used to it by now. But what I did not realize is that at Drexel, it is much easier to keep in contact with my family and I still have the opportunity to go home during the bigger breaks. With that said, my friends and I survived Thanksgiving away from home by having our own version of Thanksgiving here in Italy! So here are a few tips to help you enjoy the last few weeks of your study abroad away from home:
- Make an extra effort to call your families: I think it is easy to forget that the time difference does not just make it difficult to call home, it can also make it inconvenient. And this means that sometimes you need to make an extra effort to keep in touch with them because like you, they are really busy! I know people suggest making a call schedule to keep in touch but I think everyone’s’ schedules change so much day to day that it is a little unrealistic to think that every Friday at 5 everyone will be free. What I have found the most helpful is to just text my parents and just give them a time or day that week that I will be free so we can properly talk!
- Talk to your friends that you are studying abroad with: It is most likely that most of the people around you are feeling the same way you are. Having people around you who know exactly what you mean when you say you feel a certain way really just helps you not feel alone.
- Remember how cool your experience is: My friends and I have caught ourselves forgetting how lucky we are to be in a different country studying and travelling. We all have made a pact to just remind each other how much we have been able to do and see. Though we also want to see and be with our families I think reminding each other that this is an experience that we would otherwise never have really helps!
- Find out how people in your host country celebrate the holidays: Though Italians do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they take Christmas very seriously. The Florence Christmas markets are incredible and full of food, shopping, and beautiful lights! Walking around the Christmas markets anytime you just need to get out is so fun and you always find something new that you had not seen before!
In total, I think we have been in Italy for such a long time that despite how appreciative we are, we also realize that we want the comforts that our homes bring. And I think it is important to remember that it is not a bad thing. We are in no way blind to the fact that we have experienced so many amazing things, it is just that now that the holidays are approaching, we feel like it is time to go back and see our families.