Not being home for the holiday season can be one of the hardest parts of studying abroad. The fall and winter season bring much celebration and festivities, from hayrides and pumpkin patches at Halloween, to baking sweets with your family at Christmas, the season is greatly missed if you aren’t home.
One of my favorite holidays that I missed while being abroad was Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I was sad to think about how I would be away from my family, but when my American roommate and I decided to share our holiday traditions with our friends from around the world, I became much more excited.
Our friends were more than eager to join our Thanksgiving celebration for their very first time. On the evening of Thanksgiving, eight of us gathered around the table in our apartment; two Australians, two Argentineans, a Brazilian, two North Dakotans and a Tennessean.
As we sat around the table, the room was full of talking, laughter and sharing what each of us were thankful for. A few of our friends said they felt like they were in an American movie, finally experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time.
It was fun sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods such as mashed potatoes, dressing, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. We were also excited to have other dishes that aren’t typical of Thanksgiving, like couscous salad and fairy bread.
But the best part of the whole night was going around the table and sharing what we were thankful for. Thanksgiving is a special time to reflect on who and what we are grateful for, so having the chance to see our friends celebrate thankfulness with us was the most special part.
Thanksgiving is a time that is hard to be away from family, but I will never forget sharing one of my favorite holiday traditions with my friends from around the world. I am more than thankful for the opportunity to not only study abroad in Italy and experience a new culture, but to also share my own culture and traditions with others.