Wednesday, December 23, 2015

megaVOICE: A Holiday To-Do List for International Students

By Meghavaty Suresh
Contributing Writer

The month of December is by far the best time to be in the U.S. as an international student. The weather is changing rapidly (especially on the East Coast), everyone is shopping, and of course there are lots of holiday parties. So to all of you who are staying behind for the holidays, here is a holiday to-do list for international students:

Put Finals Behind You
School is important, but sometimes you just need to dive right into the holidays. Don’t let the stress of how you did on your exams keep you from being merry and enjoying the time off. 

See Some Christmas Lights
My favorite of part of this holiday is seeing the beautiful lights that pop up everywhere. Given that I’m an East Coast girl right now, New York City has it all! If you can make it to the city, head to Rockefeller Center to see the famous Christmas tree and check out the window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue. It may be touristy (and reminiscent of the “Home Alone” era), but it is wonderful.

Buy a Holiday Sweater
I didn’t understand the concept of ugly sweaters for a long time, but I do get it now. What better way to celebrate than by sitting around with friends all wearing the ugliest sweaters they can find while sipping on eggnog (a classic holiday cocktail)? It’s a weirdly satisfying and fun experience.

Holiday Food is the Best Food
You know that feeling when you want to let yourself eat whatever you want, guilt-free because it’s the holidays? Give in to it! Holiday food in the U.S. is the best. You can enjoy cakes and cookies, and more cakes and cookies! You can just hit the gym in the New Year like all other mere mortals. Just enjoy the festive spreads while they last.

Attend Festive Concerts
Wherever you are during the holidays, you will never be far from a holiday concert. Try to attend at least one. As someone coming from a different country, we are all used to different kinds of music and so it’s always nice to experience the holiday music of a different culture.

Find an Ice Rink
I remember how a few friends and I spent a lot of time at the local ice rink over the holidays. For those who come from countries where the idea of ice and snow out in the open is alien (like for me) it was fun taking in the holiday spirit while trying to glide across the ice as gracefully as possible. You should try it too!

If you do anything festive that isn’t on this list, leave me a comment and maybe I’ll do it myself. And of course: HAPPY, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Meghavaty Suresh is a brand engagement specialist at The Guardian. She is originally from Mumbai, India. She earned a master’s in new media at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she realized what it truly meant to be an international student and how best to enjoy the experience. The megaVOICE column is her opportunity to give a voice to the whispers of international students. Megha lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @meghasuresh.

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