Ho ho holidays, exchange student experiences the most wonderful time of the year

Exchange student celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas


Joel Strong

Sina enjoys Thanksgiving break on the beach in the Outer Banks with her host family on Nov. 25.

Hailey Bombard, Staff Writer

While the German exchange student may feel overwhelmed by the smells and sight of traditional American holiday foods, this  sophomore, Sina Maria Schmidt-Rudloff, celebrated her first-ever Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In Germany, the holidays look a little different.

Back in Germany, Sina lived in Munich with her parents, brother, and sister. For Sina and her family, Thanksgiving is just a normal day, with no special food, traditions, or decorations. Instead, people celebrate Erntedankfest, which is their “Thanksgiving.” 

Sina stayed with her host family in a beach house at the Outer Banks to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

“My favorite part of Thanksgiving was going to the beach a lot because it was literally right there,” said Sina, who said she was able to meet some of her host family relatives and had an exciting day, full of classic American, Thanksgiving dishes.

“We ate a ton of food. We had turkey which was actually good. I was surprised. We had sweet potato casserole which was really sweet. For dessert, we had pumpkin pie. My favorite Thanksgiving food was the turkey or bread,” said Sina.

Along with enjoying different American foods and traditions, she baked a German apple cake for her host family.

“It’s one of my favorites to make, and my host family really liked it,” said Sina.

After everyone ate, she and her host family played a board game called Sequence in which she won the first round. 

“I am grateful for the experiences I have been given, ” said Sina. “I have always wanted to come to America.”

Most people in Germany, including Sina and her family, celebrate and unwrap gifts on Dec. 24, but this year, she will celebrate on Dec. 25. For Christmas, she is not allowed to go home for the holidays but still sent out gifts for her family back home.

 “My family gets ready on Christmas Eve to go to church. We come back home to eat food and unwrap the presents. Then one Dec. 25 we go to my grandparents for a second Christmas,” said Sina.

Though her host family is not sure what they are doing for the holidays, they have thought of going to Massachusetts to visit family. Even though it has been tough being away from her family especially during the holidays, thanks to her host family, she has felt loved and welcomed. She will even unwrap some gifts, marked just for her, with her host family.

“We have loved having Sina join our family for her adventure this year and look forward to including her in our family traditions this holiday season and celebrating her culture and traditions as well,” said Sina’s host mom, Kim Strong.