Words by Erin Largey, a student at The College of New Jersey who studied abroad in Florence with CAPA International Education during Fall semester 2014.
Thinking about a Fall semester abroad but worried about missing this very American holiday? Below, Erin talks about what it was like to spend Thanksgiving in Italy.
- - -
The “holiday season” is many people’s favorite season in the United States. This is the time where families get together, partake in different family traditions and eat delicious food. The holiday season normally starts with Thanksgiving, which is one of the most enjoyable holidays because all you do is eat, spend time with your family, and watch endless amounts of football.
Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, you will not see any celebrations of Thanksgiving in most European countries. Studying abroad during the Fall semester can be very difficult during this time of the holiday season because you are not with your family and there are no Thanksgiving essentials like turkey, apple pie and stuffing on the table.
However, Thanksgiving is not about the food; it is about giving thanks for what we have and spending the time with the people we love and care about. CAPA not only organized a family-style dinner for us at a local restaurant, but the restaurant gave us the “Florence Thanksgiving” and attempted to make turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce along with some famous Florentine dishes. The turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce were different from what we asAmericans are used to, but it felt like we were home.
Photo: Fellow CAPA students and I enjoying a good laugh at Thanksgiving dinner
The CAPA staff and students all gathered together to enjoy a meal together and share what we are thankful for. Many people stood up and expressed how thankful they were for the experience, being apart of the CAPA family, and thankful for the CAPA staff for organizing this dinner which made being away from home on this important holiday more bearable. I thought I was going to get very homesick that weekend because I was not with my family eating turkey, talking, and watching football, but I was surrounded by food, laughter, and friends who fortunately became my family.
Photo: More students enjoying Thanksgiving dinner
And, just like back in America, Florence started hanging Christmas lights up around the city Thanksgiving weekend. All of the lights were lit by the first weekend in December.
Photo: The tree in the city center
Photo: The nativity scene in the city center
Photo: Some of the lights that were on every street in Florence
A huge Christmas tree and a nativity scene were also put up in the city center next to the Duomo. Do not miss the lighting of the tree festival!