In England every year going home for Christmas is considered a tradition. Family and Christmas go together like pigs in blankets. However, not for some at Kingston University which is home to international students.
There are tonnes of reasons stopping students from going home for Christmas and New Year: working in retail, masses of assignments to complete, the expense or perhaps you just don’t celebrate it! But whatever the reason you’re staying in Kingston this year for the festive season there are upsides – perhaps more than you think.
For one, instead of being at the behest of your parents, partner or family, you’re in control of your time. Plus, if you’re working over Christmas in the customer service industry, for example, its not only a better time to receive tips but also pay is doubled and sometimes even tripled so in regards to money, it’s the best time of year to work.
On top of that, if you are working, you’ll be spending your days meeting and greeting people who are in a happy mood ready for Christmas and New Year buying presents, eating, drinking and being merry something that will be a bonus to maintaining your spirit of Christmas.
Many employers are more generous and sociable taking staff for a drink or meal on the house for staying on while all their other staff have deserted them. Enjoy the fact that whilst your friends are stuck at home with those relatives and family that they may not get along with, at least you are being paid extra and enjoying time for yourself.
Kingston University is hosting events
Kingston University has things planned over the Christmas period for students planning on staying. A university spokesperson said, “Halls connectors across the University’s halls of residences are holding a series of events for students in the run-up to Christmas.
“On Tuesday December 10 there will be a Middle Mill Christmas meal at Knights Park. This will be followed on Wednesday December 11 by a Christmas movie and pizza night at Kingston Hill and a Christmas party evening at 75 Penrhyn Road. On Thursday December 12 there will be a Christmas movie and pizza night at Seething Wells and a Christmas party evening at Kingston Bridge House.
“Posters advertising these events are displayed in halls with more information available on the KU halls of residence Instagram feed.”
Tyra Marthina, 21-year-old Business and Psychology student has got the best of both worlds, she says: “It’s expensive going back home and I have a job waitressing, so I plan to work through the holidays, being from the Bahamas, it’s always difficult to go home as the fares are more expensive.”
This is Marthina’s first time in England and usually always spends Christmas with her family, nevertheless this year she is not complaining. On top of gaining money over Christmas, she’s also still getting to enjoy company with relatives she adds: “As my boyfriend is from the UK, he has invited me to his family’s home in Birmingham for the actual Christmas day so I will be enjoying company then. And New Year I will be going into Central London to celebrate in style”.
Too expensive to fly home
And Billie Bridges, a 20-year-old fine art student who is from New Zealand said, “I couldn’t afford flights back over the holiday period, and home is just too far away.” She wishes she could go home and isn’t happy about staying: “I get really homesick normally, let alone at a time that’s traditionally meant to be spent with your family.
“The winter also makes it tough; the cold somehow makes it a lot easier to feel the negative emotions, especially since it will be summer at home.”
Bridges says: “I have some distant family I might be able to spend it within Brighton and Leigh-on-Sea if I can afford to get there (money is a big contributor to what I can and can’t do, especially since I’m not legally allowed to work and my loan from my home country will stop coming in as soon as semester ends). But I’ve made some friends here who I’m sure would be happy to help me, but I don’t want to be intrusive into their family time, especially when their family won’t know me. Whatever I plan to enjoy the time.”
Anuj Patwari, 22, who is studying for a masters in game development, is staying in Kingston in order to complete assignments.
“I am a January start student and my final submissions are coming up shortly after Christmas. So, I’m sitting back and hoping to finish my work. I’m just going to be doing my course project work for the most part over Christmas and New Year. But I have no idea if I am going to do anything festive. I might do something for New Year’s Eve as that’s a time to enjoy yourself,” he said.
Staying in Kingston because it is too far to go home or working over the festive break means that not only will you be raking in the cash, there is also plenty to do and get involved in as well as pubs, clubs and restaurants there are plenty of local events to attend and with Kingston being so student-friendly you will have a wealth of friends here in your second home.