Students abroad participate in Japanese, Galapagos traditions during holiday season

Braelyn Swan, Staff writer

The holidays are the best time of year to be with family and fulfill family traditions. Most Linfield students can return home to their families at Thanksgiving and do what their families do. However, students who are studying abroad do not have this option. Although some do have plans to celebrate while abroad.

Andrew Hampson, studying in Japan this Fall, said he celebrated Thanksgiving while in Japan but with traditional Japanese foods as a way to blend the cultures. He said trying to get a traditional turkey could cost as much as 50 to 70 U.S. dollars.

Hampson said it is hard being away from family during the holidays but he is studying abroad “to enhance my flexibility, adopt new traditions and explore the limits of my comfort zones.”

“Being abroad is temporary, and I have years of traditional celebrations to share with family and friends back home. It’ll make for great stories at the family dinner table next thanksgiving,” he said.

Hampson said there are other Japanese traditions and holidays through the fall and winter that he will be attending. He explained that Illumination ceremonies are held across the country to light holiday decorations in more populated areas of Japan.

Studying in the Galapagos, Linfield Senior Mariah Hellebrandt, said her school put on a Thanksgiving dinner for international students even though people in Galapagos do not celebrate Thanksgiving.

She was able to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) on Nov. 2 and 3 and the Galapagos also celebrate Christmas. She says “they even decorate a native ‘tree’ that is found here.”