As the Omicron wave truly starts to kick in, people across the world have had their Christmas plans turned upside down, with many unable to return to their home countries.

Travel restrictions, quarantine rules and expensive flights or testing have prevented people from getting back to their families and friends abroad.

This is the shared story of many students who have found themselves stuck at their universities over the Christmas period – whether home students who have caught Covid during the festivities leading up to the end of term, or the international students who’ve been struck by travel bans and safety concerns.

Not so bad after all?

Whilst the winter holiday period is normally one filled with family time, festive events and home comforts, it can be very isolating for students without loved ones nearby or without a community to share the usual days of gathering and holiday feasting. 

Some students, however, are trying to take a positive outlook on the situation by making the most of their circumstances.

Going with the flow

Based on the experiences of people unable to travel over Christmas last year and the plans of those who are dealing with the issue for the first time this year, students had some advice for people in a similar position. 

  • Make the most of your time in your host country/city

Studying abroad or even in a different city is a unique experience that you may not have the chance of repeating. Embracing the traditions and events that these places have to offer may relieve some of the vexation of not being able to return home.

Grab any chances to travel with friends to their home cities or take the opportunity to explore nearby areas.

  • Try to find others in the same position

If there are people in your university or accommodation that are in the same position, try making a group to meet up for dinners or trips out. Look out for Facebook groups for international students, or groups of people from your home country. 

And remember you’re not alone! Many universities provide student outreach and there are services you can get in touch with if

  • Find ways to connect to home traditions

Get your friends involved in your own traditions to help bring a piece of home to you. You could cook traditional meals with friends or take part in your customary practices! If you’re isolating or living alone, make sure to set up calls with family or friends, or organise events online like quizzes or games.

Read more here.