How International Students Spend the Holidays

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After the stress of fall semester exams is over, many MSU students will have a short drive home for a well-deserved winter break; others have a much longer journey home. I spoke with several international students who spend their breaks traveling, on the beach or celebrating holidays with their families.

Marina Bohrer

Porto Algere Brazil

Every year I go home for the winter break. It’s a special time because I get to see my family and friends. We celebrate the same holidays as America: Christmas and New Year’s. A significant custom is to consume lentils and rice on New Year’s Day. Doing so is considered to confer blessings, good luck, fortune and prosperity in one’s life. Also, there is a tradition of wearing white on the day, as doing so is traditionally believed to bring and sustain good luck for the rest of the year. On the midnight of the arrival of New Year, local people residing in and around the beach city gather at the beach, and as a part of tradition jump seven times into the beach and throw flowers in the beach while wishing for a happy and prosperous year ahead.

Bahadir “Baha” Senel

Bursa, Turkey

I usually use the break to go somewhere warm. I like to travel and shop during winter break. We have traditional holidays, but I guess I’m not a traditional guy. I always take someone with me. Last year I went to Austria and France for skiing; this year probably Bahamas.

Cheng “Stella” Qian

Qingdao, China

I won’t go home, but some of us will; they go back for a rest and to meet their families. My academic plan for this Christmas is to learn HTML. For relaxing, I’m planning to watch a TV show that was very popular in China; a story about the relationships between wives of an empire in old times. In addition, a friend of mine from home will visit me for three days.

Gabriel “Gabe” Mallmann

Porto Algere, Brazil

Most of the time I go back home to see my family and friends. We always spend Christmas at my grandparent’s place; we’re very attached to family. It’s summer in Brazil in December so I enjoy the outdoors a lot and go to the beach.

Aslina Chua


We celebrate Chinese New Year, Eid Al Adha (Muslim New Year), Gawai (which is a native tribal celebration) and Christmas. We don’t have a winter in Malaysia, but around this time of year, there’s a lot of Christmas feel. Christmas and Chinese New Year mainly. We usually have a feast at home with family and close friends. We play with fireworks during Chinese New Year, then we go visiting our relatives and friends. The celebration lasts around 15 days. We have fireworks going off every night. It’s a celebration where we leave the past behind us and welcome a new year of luck and prosperity. The fireworks symbolize scaring off your bad luck or demons. We wear red the whole time. Dark colors are forbidden. We also give out oranges and little red packets of money to little kids as a token of luck and prosperity.


Sydney Beaudreault is a senior majoring in professional writing, with a specialization in public relations communications. She loves spending time with her family, fashion, traveling, the outdoors and Sigma Kappa. You can find her in her Lulu’s running around campus with her puppy, Koda or cheering on the Spartans with her Sk’s.


Tags: December