Taking in a new place is about more than just seeing the sights, but experiencing the traditions of the culture. A great way to do this is by spending a holiday abroad. Check out some of these stories from our team about spending a holiday abroad to get some inspiration!
Easter in Czech Republic:
My first ever international trip was to visit my sister during the week of Easter while she studied abroad in the Czech Republic. We loved the Easter markets, the festive old town, and the thousands of decorative eggs around the city. However, my best memory came when one of my sister’s friends invited us to spend the holiday with his family at their home in the countryside. When we arrived, we were met by each boy in the room dancing around us with wooden sticks that dangled braided ribbons on our heads while they sang a song. Not understanding much Czech, all we caught of the song at the time was “hody, hody,” which our friend translated for us to “feast, feast.” So, we did. And when we were done feasting, we followed up with some much needed research on what in the world had just happened.
Thanksgiving in the US:
Last year while I was in the States, my friend invited me over to her house so I could experience this holiday myself. I won’t lie, the best part was the food. I honestly didn’t like the food in the US very much (I said I wasn’t going to lie), but for some reason the food was awesome that day. I got to taste a few new dishes and fell in love with pumpkin pie! I was lucky to spend the day with such a wonderful family that made me feel at home and loved for the whole time I was with them, even when I had just met some of them that day. I’m pretty sure every family has their own traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving. For this family, it consisted of eating a lot of food, making the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever tasted, decorating cookies, laughing a lot, and making noises to imitate a turkey. I never did master that last one.
New Years in Spain:
I spent most of my senior year of high school studying abroad in Spain and living with a host family there. I had the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s with my family, and this included participating in Spanish New Year’s Eve traditions. One common tradition in Spain is to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Since this was my first time participating, when the clock struck midnight, I eagerly started shoving grapes into my mouth. All of a sudden, the room got silent. Unaware that the grapes were meant to be eaten one at a time, I looked up, my cheeks filled to the brim with 12 grapes that were about to pop out of my mouth. We all made awkward eye contact for a few seconds before the entire room burst into laughter. Now that’s a New Year’s celebration that I’ll never forget!