Happy Halloween! Studying abroad in China can be difficult as they do not celebrate the same holidays as we often do. I am over halfway done with my trip and it is starting to come to an end. This is the time when many really start to miss home or are sad that they are leaving. Some decide to stay for the entire year. For those that are starting to miss home, this is the season that most resembles life in McMinnville.
I am one of those students that are beginning to miss home. This is the longest time (and furthest) I have been apart from my family and friends. When walking around campus, you do not see those select students that decide to dress up, or holiday decorations in the coffee shops. It seems all so bare. The campus may seem bare but there are always places around China that make you feel like you are at home. This past weekend was composed of Halloween parties and costume contests. Walk to wudaokou and many of the restaurants will be decorated for Halloween. It is those simple things that can bring comfort to many.
In my opinion, fall is the prettiest of seasons in Oregon. When walking to the subway this morning I saw the colors of the leaves changing, and leaves covering the ground. The only difference is there are not any leaf blowers on campus! I am happy knowing that I am not missing fall back at home because I get the same thing here. Not only do I get to see the fall season here in China, but it snows here in the winter, something that I have been deprived of growing up in Portland. I feel that I get the best of both worlds: a beautiful fall, and a white winter.
I know what is on a lot of students' minds: if China does not celebrate the same holidays that we do back in America, are there any school breaks? It is always nice when we have that rare day off for a holiday. It always makes the weekend more enjoyable knowing that you have the one extra day to relax and not think about school. Instead of getting a Thanksgiving break while here in China, you are given a few days off for the national fall holiday here. That means no internships, classes, traveling, and sleeping! When Thanksgiving time rolls around, I will be finishing up classes and preparing for finals. The program even provides a Thanksgiving dinner for us! The week after, we all begin our travels around China.
There are many things that you may miss while studying abroad due to cultural differences and differences in holidays but it is worth it. Not only can you find places to celebrate American holidays such as Halloween, you also get the pleasure of taking part in Chinese holidays. It broadens your horizon to new traditions and food. Sometimes it is hard to see the difference between the atmosphere in China and America. Even for those that are getting homesick or are already missing family, China has a way of being comforting.