While most native students go home to spend the holidays with friends and family, expensive travel costs mean that international students often end up spending Christmas at university. If most of your friends have gone home this can potentially make this time feel very lonely, so keep reading to know how you can find a community to spend the holidays in London.
Find a Holidays Family
Now is the perfect time to build friendships with students in the same boat as you. Perhaps there are lots of foreign students who, like you, can’t get home for the holidays or don’t celebrate the festive season. Reach out to these groups and build foundations so, when the university closes for Christmas, you all have a support network and are there for each other. Your university’s Facebook is a great platform to find students in a similar position, you can also look for different groups according to your interest.
Many universities organize events, meetups, or meals for international students staying over the holidays. It’s worth checking out if there’s anything happening on your campus. This is a great way to have a unique Christmas and meet new people from your same university!
Look for Groups From Your Country
Perhaps the UK isn’t your home turf and traveling home isn’t possible at this time of year. Look for groups and events associated with your nationality and try to join or attend an event. You can create your own ‘National-style’ Christmas or even take a weekend trip away with your fellow nationals. Each of you will understand the difficulties and emotions of having Christmas away from home, and it’s a perfect time to bond and support one another.
Volunteer and help local communities
Immerse yourself in the local community if you’re finding uni life challenging. At Christmas time, charities are often understaffed as people are off for the holidays, so try volunteering at a local dog rescue or home for the elderly. You’ll be preoccupied with a new purpose and have the ability to contact a whole new friendship group – plus enjoy a Christmas outing with plenty of new people!
If you are interested in volunteering over the holidays here are some good options for you:
Help Out a Food Bank
There are people in our communities who struggle to feed their families all year round, and Christmas in particular is a time when people feel the pinch. If you’re lucky enough to have plenty to eat already this year, why not donate some extra food or a few hours of your time? Both could make a big difference. Putting together a reverse advent calendar is also a great idea. Check out The Trussell Trust’s list of food banks to find one nearby you could help at.
If you like exercising and sports this might be a great option for you. Good Gym brings people together to stay fit whilst doing something good in their community, whether it’s gardening at a community centre or repainting a retirement home. Click here to know more about Good Gym.
Crisis at Christmas
Crisis, the national charity for the homeless, is running its annual campaign to make Christmas a reality for those without a roof over their heads. From helping with collections to cooking up a mean Christmas feast, or even throwing a party, there are tons of ways to get involved! Find out more here.