‘Study Abroad’? More Like ‘Holiday Abroad’

While yes this internship can be like a holiday (aka vacation for those who don’t speak British), what I really mean is there are holidays abroad. Holidays will vary semester to semester, but everybody will get some holiday abroad. We had three holidays, and since there are conveniently three of us, we’re each going to describe what it is like to have a holiday abroad. From the spookiest day of the year to a British day of fire to the turkey-est day of pure America, this will be a wild ride. So hold on because

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Halloween–Amelia 

This is Halloween. This is Halloween. Or is it? Yes. It is. It’s just a little different in the UK than in the United States. While it is highly expected for there to be hordes of children wandering the streets in costume on All Hallows Eve in America, that is not the norm in Stratford. However, Halloween is slowly becoming more popular in England. Stores advertise for Halloween costumes and treats, and there’s trick-or-treating.

If you are willing to host trick-or-treaters, you signify this by putting a pumpkin on your doorstep. Whether it is carved or not, this slight decoration indicates all the Halloween spirit a child needs to approach a door in costume.

Though we did not participate in trick-or-treating through the streets of Stratford, we did dress up. We were encouraged by Nicky who said, “ You’re American so you can get away with it”. And get away with it we did.

Maren dressed up as Rosie the Riveter and I transformed into Frida Kahlo. And we did not have to buy a single thing to make our costumes work. Everything came entirely from our closets. #truestory

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[Aren’t we cute?]

Following work, we celebrated our Halloween by partaking in some of the spooky Halloween themed flavours at Hooray’s and watching The Great Pumpkin as well as two Halloween episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We also relished in other Halloween treats bestowed upon us by Cait.

It was a good Halloween. It was quieter than usual though. I don’t think I realised how much I loved Halloween until we had it in England. It is by no means my favourite holiday, but I missed walking around campus and seeing everyone’s costumes. I missed friends throwing Halloween parties and watching various Halloween movies all throughout October. It felt odd that Halloween was so quiet. It seemed to slip by inconsequentially for most of those around us. I am grateful that Nicky had us do a Halloween team building activity and for Jane who brought some Halloween treats.

Halloween is what you make it. I am glad that I came to greater appreciate the Holiday while in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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[Halloween ice cream at Hooray’s]

Bonfire Night–Maren

What do treason, gunpowder, November 5th, bonfires, and fireworks all have in common? Guy Fawkes Day!

*Pro tip* Bonfire Night and Guy Fawkes Day are the same holiday, so you can call it what you want (or sing Taylor Swift).

Basically this holiday is a celebration of the day a bunch of angry Catholic rebels didn’t blow up Parliament in 1605. Guy Fawkes (write that one down for future baby names) was one of those conspirators looking for religious tolerance, but he got caught with the gunpowder beneath Parliament, preventing the plot. To celebrate, everybody on November 5th gets to light bonfires, burn a fake Guy Fawkes, and set off some fireworks. Most likely, everybody will do this the weekend before the actual Guy Fawkes Day.

*Pro tip* don’t go out of town the weekend before Guy Fawkes Day because that’s when all the celebrating actually occurs.

*Extra pro tip* if Guy Fawkes Day is on a Monday, and you’re in Stratford, nothing will happen. So either be around on the weekend or leave.

*Super extra pro tip* don’t light anything on fire by yourselves to celebrate because that is a fire hazard (we didn’t do this by the way).

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[Looks like a fun lit time. I wouldn’t know though.]

Thanksgiving–Grace

Since a lot of people don’t go home for Thanksgiving when they’re at university anyway, being here during the holiday season hasn’t brought much homesickness. It is a bit weird though because there is no big holiday between the beginning of November and Christmas, so all of the Christmas decorations go up really early. I think the Christmas decorations are magical, so no complaints here, but sometimes it makes me confused about what date it is.

You definitely won’t spend Thanksgiving alone while you’re here–the night of Thanksgiving, Amelia and I went to dinner with Cait at a cosy little restaurant, and it was really a perfect evening in my book. We played cards, talked, and had a nice meal. Many things to be grateful for indeed.

Quiz nights (also called pub nights, trivia nights, or just quizzes) are a big part of British culture, and each year the Trust hosts one with a Thanksgiving theme. I got to be involved with organising the event by putting up flyers, making answer sheets, giving feedback on the questions as they were developed. It was a really fun event, filled with tons of American trivia, and everyone was able to win a prize through various rounds and challenges.

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[The lovely Grace, Amelia, and Cait enjoying Thanksgiving dinner]

In conclusion,

Holidays abroad can be a mixed bag.

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The end.

Love,

Amelia, Maren, and Grace

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