ZOE PEARCE — Studying abroad allows you to experience a different culture while taking college classes.

I have enjoyed studying in Bath, England with the charming British people, tasty food, and influential classes.

In my program, Advanced Studies in England, I take three courses and then on one day of the week I have an internship at a local bookshop.

I really appreciate this dynamic because I can immerse myself in British culture through my classes with my British professors, but also through the employees at my internship. While studying abroad has given me amazing opportunities, it has also given me an appreciation for home.

During the holidays, it can be tough to beat the feeling of homesickness. In mid-November, it hit me that this would be my first Thanksgiving away from my family.

My mom sent me family recipes, like pumpkin bread, but it still felt weird. Throughout my flat in Bath, you could tell everyone was feeling nostalgic and missing their families.

Our program decided to throw a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone in the program. Everyone in my house got dressed up in festive clothing and we all walked over to The Bath Function Rooms, excited to see the British version of Thanksgiving. We walked into the room and were overwhelmed by the number of people present.

The entire program staff showed up, which was shocking but comforting that they wanted to be involved in our cherished American holiday.

When everyone sat down, we all opened holiday poppers in unison.

There was an exhilarating and joyful atmosphere and everyone’s homesickness had faded away! Then two of the students from the program read Thanksgiving poems and reflections that put us in the holiday spirit. We all clinked glasses and got our food.

The food was a major success, flavorful turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, perfectly cooked vegetables, buttery rolls… but no stuffing! Instead they had a sausage patty, which was bizarre. Despite the lack of stuffing, everyone in the program seemed very content with their meal.

Each of the staff came around to the tables to talk to the students and make sure we were enjoying the meal. One staff member was even wearing an American flag tie.

The idea of being in a foreign country during the holidays, especially one that is only celebrated in your country, can give you mixed emotions. But it was truly a lovely way to celebrate a traditional American holiday.

Being able to celebrate Thanksgiving in England was amusing and it was a great way to bond with a different culture. While it was not Thanksgiving at home with family, it was a Thanksgiving I will never forget.

When you are studying overseas, you make friends who fill in for family when you need them to, and spending the holiday with them is special in its own way.