How To Celebrate Thanksgiving Whilst Studying In The UK

Dec 8, 2016 1:14:41 PM

Alyssa Spang, ATP Student Ambassador

Confession: I haven’t missed home yet. True, I miss people–friends, family, the excellent baristas in my hometown; however, I find I do not miss my hometown much.

Perhaps this blissful state can be attributed to the fact that I live in London, a city of constant activity and buzz. I’ve always been the independent sort, and I’ve found I miss travelling more than I miss staying put.

In any case, this changed a bit one evening not too long ago.

You see, in the United States we have this lovely holiday called Thanksgiving on November 24th. My family goes all out for Thanksgiving. It’s a big shindig with the cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and an exorbitant amount of food.

I’ve never missed a Thanksgiving meal until this November, and I certainly was not looking forward to it. Thanksgiving is so much more than a meal. Thanksgiving feels like a cozy blanket next to a fireplace with a warm mug of cider. It’s idyllic, perhaps a bit of an illusion, but for one day families unite, food is consumed, and the house smells of cinnamon and apples.

I’m an MA student at King’s College, and my current plan is to live in London for a year, the duration of my program. Beyond my graduation, I’m not sure where I’ll be living and what I’ll be doing. I do have some preliminary ideas, but I haven’t settled on a plan yet.

Because I am only in London for a year, I have not (nor will I) invest in the type of cooking supplies I’d need to make a proper Thanksgiving meal. It’s simply not practical. Luckily, university is a social place. Yes, there may be lonely times, but for the most part there are ample ways to make friends. This Thanksgiving, I had planned to go out to dinner, but I received an invitation from another MA student from the States who is subletting a room in a house. She had *drum roll, please* a real kitchen.

So, on the 24th of November, I found myself in Whole Foods snatching up sweet potatoes, carrots and pecans in order to make pecan sweet potato casserole and cooked carrots. I stopped by a flower stand and picked up an autumnal arrangement (side-note, London flower stands are stunning) and hitched a train to the east end for some delicious food.

Beautiful flower stall, London

My only regret is that I had so much fun with my friend, her housemates, and her housemates’ parents that I forgot to take as many pictures as I would have liked.

After a delicious meal, jovial conversation and apple crisp, I headed home to FaceTime my family. Instead of feeling homesick, I was thankful to have friends in London and the technology to see my family on my favorite holiday.

So, if you find yourself in the U.K. over Thanksgiving, don’t panic, there are ways to celebrate here. From what I’ve seen, a lot of British people are quite keen on the American Thanksgiving experience.

If you would like to find out more about studying your degree in the UK, contact one of the Across The Pond Advisors, who will answer all your questions.

Studying in the UK: The essential facts for Canadian students