International Students Home Away From Home For The Holidays

SAIT international students are preparing to spend their Christmas holiday away from home.

Ximena Rios, a first-year radio, television and broadcasting news program, says she will be spending the holiday season here in Calgary with her brother.

“It will be funny to see how my brother reacts to the weather here,” Rios said.

“In Mexico, we usually have decent weather during the holiday.”

Rios family celebrate Christmas every year with a special dinner at her house in Mexico.

“All my cousins, aunts and uncles used to come over to my house and have dinner at midnight.” Rios said.

International students spend the holidays away from home.

“After that we would do a Chinese gift exchange and watch the fireworks on the beach.”

Olga Sulimina, a first-year Russian exchange student in the petroleum engineering program, has planned a trip in which she gets to see her family without returning home.

“I am going to Dominican Republic with my sister and my niece,” Sulimina said.

“It is going to be very unusual for us to spend Christmas and New Years in a warm country without snow.”

This will be Sulimina’s first Christmas outside of Russia, but she is excited to learn and partake in new holiday traditions in the Dominican Republic.

“I believe my sister and I will make a Christmas dinner at our apartment and spend this day together,” said Sulimina.

“Also we might go out for a local celebrations to the park.”

Sulimina believes it will be very hard spending the holidays away from the rest of her family.

“I feel very sad that I won’t be able to see my mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins. Christmas and New Year is always fun and warm with them,” Sulimina said.

“But we will have a Skype video call on that days and I hope to see them in summer.”

Isabella Mendonca, a second-year broadcast system technology student, will be spending her second Christmas in Canada.

“I’m originally from Brazil, but I came here for school last year and haven’t gone back,” Mendonca said.

Mendonca enjoyed her first Christmas in Canada with her friend’s family, and plans on doing the same thing this year.

“I am honestly okay spending the holidays away from home,” Mendonca said.

“My mom will send me presents, and I will send some back. In the summer I will return home, but for now I am happy here.”

Besides the Christmas celebrations, Mendonca misses New Years with her family the most.

“My birthday is on a new years eve, so we celebrate it on New Years, usually with a small fireworks. We dance, sing, and play a fun soccer game in front of my house,” Mendonca said.

Elpidio Bojorquez, a first-year business student, will be celebrating the holidays with other international students he has met at school.

“Since I can’t go home to see my family in Mexico, I will celebrate with my new family of friends here,” Bojorquez said.

Bojorquez usually spends Christmas Eve with his entire family at their house on the beach, but does not have enough money to buy a plane ticket home for the holidays.

“We will do a Chinese gift exchange before going out on the beach and lighting fireworks off at midnight,” Bojorquez said.

Although Bojorquez is unable to return home, he is happy he will be able to spend the holidays with the people he has met in Canada.

“My friends here are all from different place around the world and are unable to go home as well, so instead we will have a nice big dinner at a fancy restaurant and have lots of drinks,” Bojorquez said.

“I may not be home with my real family, but I will still feel the love here in Canada with my new family I have made away from home.”

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