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The holidays are an important time to spend with family. Unfortunately, we don’t always get to spend it with our loved ones every year. Mia, a friend of mine, is an international student from Germany at the University of Toronto. She talked to me about how this year would be the first year that she isn’t going home to Munich for the holidays. She has been homesick throughout the year, and since the Canadian culture is quite different from Germany’s, it took awhile for her to adjust. She had some tips for people who are not going home for the holidays that I’d like to share.

Being homesick is a natural thing for anybody. However, you don’t have to spend this special time of year by yourself. Be with your friends, go out and do something special with each other. Go around Toronto and do some holiday activities. It is important not to isolate yourself; doing so might only make you more miserable. Always remember that the holidays are a time to surround yourself with love and joy.

Photo by Kristi Gy

Cultures vary in regards to Christmas so spending it away from home might be a learning experience for you. Mia is used to spending Christmas in Germany and she feels that spending Christmas in Canada for the first time will be an exciting experience. Learning about cultures is very interesting to experience. You can learn a lot from those around you.

It is also important to keep a positive mindset. Being negative will only get you more upset than you want to be. Choose to do festive activities to get you in the holiday spirit. There are even activities to do alone like staying in your pyjamas all day and binge watching Netflix shows. You can even bake and listen to your favourite Christmas songs. Make the most out of this opportunity.


Photo by Nubia Navarro

Lastly, this a chance to create your own little “family.” People tend to create their own Christmas traditions with their friends. Having your own family away from home can make you feel a lot better. Mia noted that, “Having female roommates is the best thing that ever happened to me. We got very close since the summer. We got our own Christmas tree, decorated our house, and we’re even planning a Christmas party. Not being in Munich will be very hard for me, but I do feel a lot better because I do have people around me to spend it with”.


Photo by Ylanite Koppens  

This holiday season, it is good to remember to enjoy your time no matter what. Make the best out of this new experience! If you know anybody who is not going home for the holidays, spend time with them. Include them in your holiday activities with your family or with your friends outside of school.


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