How to feel holly jolly without being homesick

How to feel holly jolly without being homesick

Going on an exchange for a couple of months is all fun and games, until the holiday season sets off. Then you might start to feel blue – especially when it’s not safe to visit your home country or to invite lots of people over for a smashing Christmas party. But don’t you worry: STAN is here to help you get through your Christmas break without missing home (too much). 

1 Buy your family Christmas presents

Even though you’re probably not driving home for Christmas this year, buying your family and friends gifts will remind you of their personalities, of what they enjoy and what they mean to you. After all, Christmas is all about giving, right? (Well, and receiving, of course…). Plus, you’ll have some great souvenirs to surprise your loved ones with when you return home. And also: it’s a fun way to distract yourself whenever you feel lonely. Win-win!

2 Host a (virtual) students-only Christmas dinner

Who says you can’t enjoy a fabulous Christmas dinner without your family? Just invite a few of your friends over or – if you want to host a bigger party – host a covid-safe, students-only online Christmas dinner. Ask everyone who’s participating to prepare a nice home-cooked meal for themselves, pop open a nice bottle of vino and light up some cosy candles. Play some games, watch a Christmas movie together (ever heard of Teleparty?!) or listen to Wham!’s Greatest Hits all night long. Be as creative as you like and you’ll probably forget all about those awesome dishes your granny usually makes for Christmas Eve.

3 Study, study, study

We know it might be a bit of a cliché, but distraction really is the best medicine against feeling sad. So why don’t you just use it as an excuse to focus entirely on your upcoming exams? And thanks to our STUDY360 project, studying becomes a lot more fun! Study for your exams at the most beautiful, fun and surprising spots all around Antwerp such as Brewery De Koninck, Kavka and Fosbury&Sons. Bonus: you’ll be surrounded by lots of students who are in the same boat as you. And you know what they say: misery loves company. 😉
Interested? Check out more info about the participating locations, opening hours and how to sign up on

4 Volunteer at a charity

Not reaaaally in the studying-mood, but still want to distract yourself from missing home? Helping people in need might be a great way to do it. Especially around the holiday season, lots of charities, homeless shelters and refugee camps could use the help. Het Rode Kruis, for example, is always looking for people to help out, and via Sant’Egidio you can sign up to write someone who is on deathrow. Covid-safe from your own home, but still trying to spread some warmth. Now isn’t that the true Christmas spirit?

Whatever you decide to do, STAN wants to wish you an incredible Christmas. Stay safe, stay healthy, and see you soon!