Guest blogger Produced by

Milla Rasanen (Sweden)

I am Milla Rasanen from Sweden studying MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology. Spending Christmas abroad can seem a bit scary at first, especially if it’s your first time being away from your family at Christmas time. Fortunately, I have experienced Christmas abroad before, so I know what I’m in for. I’m here to share my best tips with you to make sure you have a wonderful Christmas in Bournemouth.

Incorporate some home traditions to the celebration

First, make sure you have some familiar Christmas traditions from home to keep you from feeling homesick. Just because you’re abroad, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little piece of home with you. Bake your grandma’s Christmas cookies or play your favourite Christmas songs. I found a store in London that sells Julmust, a traditional Swedish Christmas drink. Of course, I had to buy a couple of bottles to remind me of Christmas in Sweden. I am also going to be cooking traditional Swedish Christmas food to make me feel at home.

Embrace new traditions

Keep in mind that one of the reasons you are in Bournemouth is to experience a new culture – try to enjoy English Christmas as well. Mix your Christmas traditions from home with some English Christmas traditions. Buy English Christmas crackers or make a traditional Christmas pudding. Watch the Queen’s Christmas message on Christmas Day (it is on at 3pm on both BBC and ITV).

The holidays are a wonderful time to get better insight into the local culture and customs. You might end up liking some of the traditions so much that you will take them with you when you return home and incorporate them into all your future Christmases.

One of my favourite things about Christmas in England is that a lot of people go out on Christmas Eve. It is very different from Sweden where Christmas Eve is the main event and spent at home with your family.

Organise celebrations with your new friends

You don’t have to sit home alone on Christmas Eve just because you don’t have your family here. You can go out with your friends instead! There are many international students who are also staying in Bournemouth for Christmas. You can join up with them and organise a lovely Christmas dinner. Everyone could bring a Christmas tradition from their home countries and have a truly international Christmas.

Wrap up and go out!

Don’t forget to enjoy what Bournemouth has to offer at Christmas. Even if it feels a bit cold, go to the Christmas Market and drink some mulled wine. Go ice skating in the Lower Gardens or attend a carols service. Keeping busy and joining in on English Christmas traditions will ensure that you won’t feel homesick and you will have a very lovely Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone!

By Milla Rasanen (Sweden), MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology