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As my first semester in New York comes to a close, I can’t say I’m not a little bit excited about returning home for winter break. As fun and unconventional as my university experience has been so far, I'm eager to return to the normality of Scotland. The hectic city life over the past four months has left me longing for the peacefulness of home.
Moving 3,000 miles across the world is not easy, although New York City is a good distraction when feelings of homesickness hit. Many of my friends here are also from the UK, so having others who feel the same way is a great help. Cravings for beans on toast and British chocolate occur for us all and to have a community that understands these hankerings is helpful.
Follow the rest of Bonnie's journey here
I recently surprised one of my closest friends with a birthday trip to a British restaurant with beans on toast, bangers and mash and sticky toffee pudding on the menu and our feelings of homesickness dramatically diminished. Next door to the restaurant was a classic British chip shop. While immersed in US culture, it’s easy to forget about the comforts of home, so making these trips to British restaurants or spending a little extra on British snacks is sometimes all that is needed.
As the days get darker and New York’s first snowfall of the year is soon expected, experiencing Christmas in the city is another aspect of life so different from home. Just like the movies, New York neighbourhoods are already decked out in coloured lights and festive decorations. One night a friend and I walked all the way from campus to the Rockefeller Centre to see the famous tree.
Christmas markets and ice rinks are also dotted all over the city and have been another great distraction from both the stresses of exams and feelings of homesickness. Most recently, Columbia had its annual tree lighting ceremony, a tradition where thousands of students gather to start the seasonal festivities. The trees that line the college walk under Columbia’s main gates give the campus a festive vibe.
The spontaneous, stressful, sometimes implausible nature of my first semester has left me ready to come home but also excited to see what is in store for my next semester.
Read more: How to deal with homesickness at university