My Christmas holiday season this year

Do you ever wonder what international students do before and during Christmas holiday season, especially those who don’t go back home or are from a country that doesn’t celebrate Xmas? Well wonder no further, I will give you a peek into my last two weeks of life ;)

Posted by Chung Thanh Le at Dec 26, 2016 02:25 PM

christmas market and ice-skating ring at Musuemplein
Christmas market and ice-skating ring at Museumplein

 

2 weeks before Xmas

Every year Amsterdam is lid up by millions of Christmas lights around this time of the year. The last few years Amsterdam has been even more beautiful with the Light festival.  Museumplein is a frequent location for a cosy and festive Christmas market and a perfect venue for a pop-up ice-skating ring. Two weeks ago, I went there with a couple of friends to merge myself in the Christmasy air and to lift up my holiday spirit. Maybe it is just me, but this time of the year always brings a lot of emotions and feelings to me (you know .... with being away from home). This year, though, has been particularly rough for me because of all the unfortunate events in the last 1-2 months. Therefore, it has been very helpful and important to me that I am always surrounded by friends. I would like to dedicate this blog to all the wonderful friends who have been there for me the whole way through.

ice skating at museumplein
We had a lot of fun iceskating at museumplein

 

At the moment, I am running the Vietnamese student association in the Netherlands as a board chairman. And this year we have a little film project to spread love and care to not only Vietnamese students in the Netherlands but also to those who are away from home this holiday season. The team spent the whole Saturday filming in Amsterdam. An applause to them for their hardwork and beautiful result :D Let’s be inspired by the positivity this holiday.

 

Winter always hosts a lot of formals/balls/parties at many student associations. This year I joined a winter formal at my bachelor college as an alumnus. It is quite funny that during my 3 years here I never got to attend this event due to my part time work. It hit me hard this time when being back where I spent my first 3 years in Amsterdam again, as I suddenly realized how much I missed out on during my college life. I was not so deeply involved in many activities at my college while I was here, as I chose other commitments outside of the college bubble. Now, as a soon-to-be master graduate, I may never be a student again and will surely miss this beautiful time of life.

Winter fall at Amsterdam University College
I attended my own bachelor college's winter formal for the first time 2 years after graduation

 

1 week before Xmas

I think a lot of international students agree with me that the last week before Christmas holiday is not much far from H E L L because of all the exams and deadlines. The library is always packed full of students from opening to closing in the last 1-2 weeks before the end of the semester. But the bright side is that the holiday will be truly study-free and stress-free :D. One exam I had to take last week took place in a sport hall in a middle of nowhere in Amstelveen, a town next to Amsterdam. Though getting there took me an hour biking in the freezing winter weather, I did enjoy the views of the countryside. Still, the exam was very difficult.

It literally felt like i had to bike across Holland to sit a 2.5h exam
It literally felt like i had to bike across Holland to sit a 2.5h exam

 

So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I finished my last assignment which was due on Friday. To celebrate my freedom and the upcoming holiday, I went out to some gay bars with a bunch of straight friends. It was all their first time and they totally loved it there. We had an awesome evening of dancing and laughing.

party at gay bar in Amsterdam
It was an awesome night out at gay bars in Ams to celebrate the start of the holiday

 

Christmas night

Every year for Xmas, my group of Vietnamese friends always celebrates together with a dinner and a present-exchange game. This year was no exception. We roasted some chicken, grilled some prawns, tossed up some salad, made some desserts and exchanged a bunch of presents. It was gezellig!!

 

Christmas dinner, present, games, friends
This Christmas is all about friends, presents and food

 

Christmas day

On the 25th, I had some friends coming over to my place to have Vietnamese hotpot. Hotpot is a very common way of sharing and enjoying dinner together in Vietnam, perfect for the Xmas spirit. Good broth, lots of meat and seafood, a variety of vegges  and you will have a good time. Then we played some card game and watched a scary movie “No one lives”.

 

second christmas dinner
My second Xmas dinner was hot and sweet hotpot with some Vietnamese friends

 

The rest of the holiday

I still haven’t had a concrete plan for the next 2 weeks of the holiday. I plan to do some small day trips to explore some small cities in the Netherlands. Even though I have been in Holland for almost 5 years, I haven’t seen that much of the country. The day-return group train ticket is only 7eu, so it s super cheap and convenient to commute to different cities.

The rest of the time I will probably spend on working on the charity project of my Vietnamese student association which is to raise fund for rebuilding a primary school in a rural Northern area of Vietnam. I will definitely share with you more about this project in the coming blogs. So stay tuned.

For now, I hope everyone had a wonderful Xmas day and will have an epic new year holiday ahead. And if you have time this holiday, don’t forget to check out other blogs of mine. 

Posted by Chung Thanh Le at Dec 26, 2016 02:25 PM
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