What to do During Thanksgiving Break

As an international student, going home for Thanksgiving can be difficult, and even impossible, at times. Flights can become really expensive during the holidays and, depending on where you’re from, there simply might not be enough time for you to actually go back, since you need a day to travel home, a couple of days to get over jet lag, and another day to fly back to the US. Before you know it, your break is over but you’re still exhausted and not well rested for school or work. Rest assured, there are so many other things you can do during Thanksgiving break!

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that dates back to the year 1620, when the Mayflower ship arrived in America with voyagers from England. Although the ship safely reached the New World, aka America, the passengers, known as the Pilgrims, were met with a brutal Massachusetts winter and all kinds of contagious diseases, leaving only half of the voyagers alive to see their first New England spring. In March, when it became warmer and they didn’t need to fully rely on their ship as shelter, all the Pilgrims finally moved ashore. The settlers were greeted by indigenous people, who have lived in America for decades before the voyagers, and they were taught essential skills needed to settle down on the land. For example, the indigenous people taught the settlers how to grow and harvest corn. After the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest, their Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast with the Native Americans. This event became known as the first Thanksgiving ever, and it is now widely celebrated in the US as Congress made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1870.

When and how long is Thanksgiving break?

Thanksgiving takes place on the last Thursday of November of every year. For 2022, Thanksgiving is on the 24th of November. Thanksgiving is just a one-day celebration, but many businesses and colleges allow employees and students, respectively, to have a long four-day weekend. However, some universities may give students the whole week off, so it really depends on your luck. 


If you and your friends can’t go anywhere then you should consider having a “Friendsgiving!” This is basically when you and your friends get together to cook and eat classic Thanksgiving dishes together, and it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday with the people that you care about. You can also bring some of your favorite board games out to play with your friends after a filling dinner.


Rent a car or borrow your friend’s car to go on a little road trip together. It might be fun to visit some national parks or see staple landmarks—you can do anything really. Make sure that you plan out your route and have enough gas money before you embark on your road trip!

Mini vacation

Another idea is to turn this Thanksgiving break into a mini vacation. Book a flight or drive somewhere close, preferably with the same time zone so you won’t have to deal with jet lag, and just chill out. A change of scenery can really help rejuvenate your mind as well as your body and prepare you for the rest of the semester. 


Just take this time off to be as lazy as you want. Take lots of naps, binge-watch the shows that you never got to watch during the semester, and eat as many snacks as you want. Make the most of this Thanksgiving holiday by giving yourself a break and re-energize yourself.

Learn a new skill

Although it is only a few days of break, you can use this time to learn something new. For example, you can teach yourself how to crochet, juggle, or cook. You can do anything that you want to and feel productive at the same time!

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