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The Northerner

Finding the holiday spirit in a home away from home

Jim Hummel

Kyung mi Shim, Contributing writer

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Christmas is right around the corner. Everybody is looking forward to the holiday, because people enjoy spending time with their loved ones and exchanging presents. For international students who are away from home, it could be a lonely time. However, everyone finds their own ways to spend the holidays.

Omi Na, an exchange student from South Korea, is taking a trip to Las Vegas with her friend for Christmas.
“Most Americans are traveling to their homes to celebrate Christmas with their families. If I just stay here, it would be really lonely. So I decided to travel to have a nice Christmas,” she said.

To celebrate Thanksgiving, Na went to her American friend’s house.

“My friend invited me to her place and had dinner and played card games with her family. We had such a good time there,” Na said.

Felix Blitheness, an exchange student from Germany, is planning to travel to Miami, Florida with his friends for Christmas.

“I have no family to spend Christmas with in America, so it’s better to travel,” Blitheness said.

He spent Thanksgiving with his host family.

“I live with a home stay family. We had the turkey and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, and we watched the football match together. It was pretty cool, because they gave me a chance of experiencing American culture,” Blitheness said.

Clemence Binon, a freshman from Belgium, stayed in her dorm for Thanksgiving break. “I and my roommate did nothing special for Thanksgiving. We just had dinner together,” Binon said.

Binon will visit Belgium for Christmas vacation to spend time with her family. “I’m so excited to go back home, because I wouldn’t feel lonely. I will have my family with me,” she said.

Seunghwan Lee, an exchange student from South Korea, was invited to an American professor’s house with his friends on Thanksgiving Day. “We played, passing around a Frisbee and video games. They treated us warmly,” Lee said.

Lee also said that during Christmas, he will spend time with his Korean friends in Kentucky. “I’ll go skiing with my friends and have dinner with them in my dorm.” Lee said.

Kenneth Rhee, an associate professor of management originally from South Korea, has lived in America since he was 12 years old. He has family in the U.S.

Rhee had Thanksgiving dinner and a celebration with his brother’s family. “My brother and his family came over to here and baked the turkey. It was really good,” Rhee said.

Rhee said he is going to have Christmas dinner and is planning to do some research during Christmas break.“I’ll try to write a paper during Christmas days so I would be really busy, and Christmas is pretty much American,” Rhee said.

Rhee also celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year on Jan. 1.

“We have special Korean food for New Years, which is so traditional Korean,” Rhee said.

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Finding the holiday spirit in a home away from home