Thanksgiving while Abroad


Striving to still get your “gobble gobble” on while abroad? Here are some helpful tips on how to create that Thanksgiving spirit while overseas.


TURKEY — One of the main problems for students abroad is finding the turkey. Whether the nation tends to not eat a lot of meat products, or just that turkey is hard to come by, the  infamous and delicious turkey can be a struggle to find. In general, it is suggested that you look beyond the popular grocery stores or supermarkets, as these sometimes don’t carry turkeys or will be out of stock. Local butchers or specialty meat shops may be your best bet, and can be relatively inexpensive if you split the cost with other Thanksgiving-loving friends.

PUMPKIN PIE — The quintessential Thanksgiving treat — what would the holiday be without it? Unfortunately, pumpkin in general, especially the pureed pumpkin used in America is almost non-existent in a lot of countries. Some good alternative options would be to use butternut squash or pumpkin soup (yes, that’s a thing abroad) with sugar. Not exactly the same, but still delicious and seasonally appropriate!

CASSEROLES — For that lovely green-bean casserole we all know and love, those fried onions can be (not surprisingly) pesky to find abroad. One suggestion would be to hit up a fast food chain (possibly send one of your foreign friends so as to not affirm American stereotypes) to get onion rings or even tater tots as a substitute. It still should taste good — even if it looks a bit odd.

*The other food staples — the potatoes, rolls, etc. should be easy to find abroad, so no need to stray from tradition there!*


Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without being surrounded by friends you enjoy. Everyone loves a home-cooked meal, and your new foreign friends will be very impressed by the large carved turkey in front of them. Sharing this Thanksgiving tradition with non-Americans can be a great chance to have them get to know you and the holiday better as a whole.


Remember, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what you have. In your case, you are abroad in a fabulous country….you have TONS to be thankful for.  Call or e-mail your family back home and then go out and explore the city (before or after your delicious meal). Because this is not a world-recognized holiday, many of the local hot-spots will be relatively empty and open for you to venture freely in. Be merry and be thankful!

Hope these tips find you well, and that you have a marvelous Thanksgiving! Through getting creative with food, being surrounded with friends, and taking advantage of your fortunate situation abroad, this Thanksgiving could be the best yet!