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Ten Festivals Aroud the World for International Students to Usher in the Holidays

As the festive season begins its annual spread of cheer and holiday mood, we have fortunately and unfortunately caught the bug and oh!  It’s a sick feeling!

For this week’s blog post therefore, we shall publish as the festive mood allows and the mood is speaking. Shhhh… What? Okay.. Right? Okay.

So in the spirit of the Holiday, if you are an international student (or plan to be one next year), here’s a fun list of annual student festivals around the world that you can attend. Shake off the stress of the semester and welcome the chill weather that smells of sweet cookies and memorable friendships. We have picked the best (mostly) affordable parties from Erasmus student festivals to Iceland’s Secret Solstice.

Hogwarts in the Snow

Country: UK.  Period of Festival: 19th November – 29th January

This festive season, you are invited to experience Christmas time at Hogwarts and discover how film-makers created fire, ice and snow that never melts as we undergo a magical makeover for Hogwarts in the Snow.

Christmas trees will line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow will be meticulously applied to the majestic Hogwarts castle model.

After stepping onto the original stone floor of the iconic Great Hall, you will spot wreaths, garlands and trees decked with golden baubles that are topped with witches on miniature broomsticks. The long dining tables will be dressed as they were for seasonal feasts at Hogwarts with prop versions of roast turkeys, hams studded with cherries and even flaming Christmas puddings.

ISFiT, The International Student Festival in Trondheim

Country: Norway.  Period of Festival: February

The International Student Festival in Trondheim is the world’s largest international student festival and each year has a theme related to social and political topics with international relevance. The theme of ISFiT 2015 was “Corruption” and it was subject for debate in the 18 workshops, which all have a different topic related to corruption.

The International Student Festival in Trondheim, will be held 9. February to 19. February 2017. Over 450 students from all over the world gather to attend 16 different workshops and take part in the cultural program of the festival.

Throughout the 10 days of the festival, the 450 participants from all over the world will, during the day, each follow one of the workshops. Each workshop is divided into subthemes related to the festival’s main theme.The theme for this years festival is discrimination.

In contrast to the workshops, ISFiT’s cultural scene is open for everyone; it is not merely limited to the participants of ISFiT. The culture programme consists of performing arts, ceremonies and concerts, as well as debates led by acknowledged speakers.

Eden Festival

Country: UK.  Period of Festival: November – January

The winter festival at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Usually an educational ecology park, in December the Eden Project is transformed with Christmas trees, a choir, real reindeer and an ice rink, with ice skating classes for all ages.

Christmas is a magical time to visit the Eden Project. From twilight the site is beautifully lit, our glistening ice rink is open, and on selected dates Father Christmas will be here with his elves and our Festival of Light and Sound will be a sight to behold. Plus, our cafes are serving seasonal food and you can do a spot of Christmas shopping at the shop.

Meet Father Christmas, marvel at the Festival of Light and Sound, go ice skating, watch live storytelling. There are lots of magical things to do at Eden around Christmas.

Sydney festival, Australia

Country: Australia.  Period of Festival: January

If you school in Australia, check out this festival located in the heart of Australia. The musical highlight of January’s Sydney festival was Cat Power; her voice even more brittle than usual, wowing a circus tent full of just a few dozen lucky fans in the middle of Hyde Park.

The highlight of the upcoming lineup will probably be Atomic Bomb! Band: Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, The Rapture’s Luke Jenner, Pat Mahoney from LCD Soundsystem, Money Mark, and many of their mates, bashing out the synth songs of Nigerian funk star William Onyeabor.

Next year, perhaps it will be Moses Sumney of Magic mirrors glowing up your holidays.

University of Illinois International Festival

Country: USA.  Period of Festival: November

The longest running student-led program in the history of the University, the festival features fun and games from around the globe, cultural performances and exhibits, plus a variety of ethnic foods. This year’s festival centers on the theme “WORLD AT A GLANCE”.

Friends from the greater Springfield community will be joining UIS students, faculty, and staff to share a day of cultural games and exhibits, artistic performances, food tasting, and more, all with the international flavor that you have come to expect over the years. Again this year, in order to make the festival accessible to all, we are not charging admission. The University will also have professional storytellers performing their craft to fully embrace the folklore theme. They will be luring us in with music and tales from cultures from around the globe.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: Scotland’s New Year Festival

Country: Scotland.  Period of Festival: New Year Day

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-famous new year festival, presenting three days of spectacular events, incredible bands and amazing audiences from every corner of the globe.

In Scotland, the celebration of the new year is called Hogmanay. There are big parties across the country – expect lots of music, dancing, food and fireworks – but Edinburgh hosts some of the biggest.

So if you school at the University of Edinburgh or anywhere in Scotland, join this festival. These 3-days of fireworks, music and fun are created for you on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.  This festival has something for everyone including the Torchlight Procession on the 30th, the world-famous Street Party on the 31st, and the Loony Dook and Scot:Lands celebrations on New Year’s Day

Point Park University International Student Festival

Country: USA.  Period of Festival: March

Point Park University is a comprehensive university in the U.S. that offers a unique and exceptional education. Located in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — a safe, inexpensive and international-friendly city, and named “The Most Livable U.S. City” by Forbes, The Economist and Rand McNally — Point Park offers an active, professional, real-world education, unlike any other in the U.S.

International and domestic students, faculty and staff are invited to celebrate cultures from around the world during the student festival held in March at the University. Last session, Point Park’s Office of International Student Services and Enrollment hosted the event, which highlighted springtime festivals in Bulgaria, Poland, Holland, India, Nigeria, Ghana and Saudi Arabia.  Students were able to sample Pongal, a sweet sticky rice from Southern India, create paper mache flowers to celebrate Holland’s renowned tulip crop, and fashion red and white bracelets for Baba Marta, a Bulgarian holiday that welcomes the upcoming spring.

The event was capped by a performance from Lajkoniki, a folk ensemble specializing in traditional Polish dance.

Erasmus Students Festival

Country: France.   Period of Festival: October

Spend a day strolling along the European village while discovering all the cultural wealth of the European continent.

Visit Europe from country by country through entertainment booths which highlight each ethnic particularity. We offer you to meet the cultures that coexist in our territory, to exchange and understand our differences.

A big part of the Festival will be dedicated to music, games and fun activities, next to the european village you will be able to participate in these activities such as the Human bay-foot.
All this in a festive and funny way with lots of prizes to be won. To get to know every culture, we also offer a culinary journey with specialties from various countries which will really pleasure your taste buds All this in the respect of urban ecology and sustainable development!

Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Country: Israel   Period of Festival: June

The International Student Film Festival, Tel-Aviv, is one of the largest festivals in the world for student films, and is considered one of the most important in this field.

The festival is a non-profit organization and is produced and managed by volunteer students filled with passion for the art of film. The festival is characterized by young, fresh energy that distinguishes it from all other cultural events that take place here and around the world.

The only downside to this festival is that it holds in the Summer, deep down into the session and away from the Christmas period. However, it is still worthy of this list because it is the best of it’s kind that holds in an Asian country.

Festival of International Students at Penn

Country: USA   Period of Festival: October

Festival of International Students at Penn celebrates the rich talents and cultural diversity that international students bring to the Philadelphia Region. This event promotes the University of Pennsylvania’s global engagement highlighting the Penn Museum’s vast collection of objects, Penn Language Center’s linguistic expertise, and Penn Global’s dedication to international student integration.

The reception also applauds the vibrant network of regional universities and organizations that promote global activities, honoring the impact of this cultural engagement on Philadelphia, the first World Heritage City in the nation.

This event is free for International Students and Scholars from all area universities and colleges.

Other Places to Visit this Christmas

Winter Wonderland: Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park. In addition to a traditional Christmas market, this huge site features carnival rides, two circuses, an ice skating rink, fake snow and an exhibition of ice sculptures… and enough hot chocolate and mulled wine to keep you warm.

Belfast’s Christmas Market: If you’re studying in Northern Ireland, visit the multicultural market outside Belfast’s City Hall for festive food and drink from around the world, crafts, gifts and Christmas decorations.

Pantomimes. The traditional Christmas ‘panto’ is a mix of slapstick comedy and musical theatre, with silly costumes and audience participation. Pantomimes are usually for children, but it’s worth seeing one for a uniquely British experience.

Chinese New Year. Every February,  there is a parade through Chinatown in the West End of London, with free performances of music, dance and acrobatics, a feast of food and fireworks. There are many more events around the UK, so find out what’s on in your area – cities including Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool and Birmingham usually host colourful street parties.