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By tradition, European cities start to sparkle with decorations and colourful lights in anticipation of Christmas and New Year celebrations from the beginning of December. ESCP Business School students have a long break from classes and exams during this period. Therefore, they can take the opportunity to experience the festive and magical atmosphere that spreads throughout ESCP campus cities.

We asked our Chinese students, who will be spending their holidays away from home this year, to tell us about their plans. An MBA student on the Turin Campus, Chun-Jui Cheng says, "First of all I’m going to Finland. I’ll visit Helsinki then spend Christmas in Rovaniemi, known as Santa’s Village. After Christmas, I’m going to Norway to take the famous "Norway In a Nutshell' trip, that you can travel by train, bus and boat to visit splendid fjords and natural landscapes, from Oslo to Bergen. Maybe I will arrange a trip around Italy after New Year’s, just go to some big cities like Venice and Florence".

European traditions are different from those belonging to Asian culture. Among the most appreciated by our students are the traditional Christmas markets. Yichun Li, a Bachelor in Management student on the Paris campus, says: "I never went to a Christmas market when I was in China, but every city in Europe has its own Christmas market. I really enjoy visiting these markets because there are so many stalls selling decorations and typical food, and the atmosphere is magical!"

But what memories will the students bring with them from this experience in Europe? Runze Hun, an MBA student on the Berlin campus, was impressed by the ice skating rinks in the city centres: "In Europe people like to go ice-skating at Christmas time, from the beginning of December they put up an outdoor skating rink in city centres and people go there all winter long. It is one of the things young people like to do at Christmas".

Cecelia Chun, an MBA in International Management student in London, told us which Christmas celebration she will be attending in the UK: "I will invite a Chinese student to go to the London Carols together, let her experience the authentic Christmas vibe there as well. Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends, my family is not here, so friends are very important especially when we are abroad".

Every European country has different traditional dishes in the holiday season. Runze Hun tried mulled wine (also called Vin Brulé or Vin Chaud), a hot drink made from red wine, fruit and spices, which can be found in bars or at Christmas market stalls: "It is very warming in winter. It is actually very easy to prepare, so you can buy the ingredients and make it at home".

The period of the Christmas holidays means above all time spent with family, friends and loved ones. The ESCP students interviewed this year will spend their holidays away from home, but Cecelia Chun tells us what she will do to reduce the great distance: "Video call, and I will share with them my vlog of the London Carols concert as well. I like to vlog and think it is a great way to share my life with family and friends. I will probably also try to livestream the concert to them if there is no time difference, we have a family group livestream function in China, and it is an amazing way to share a live experience".

Spending Christmas away from home can be challenging, but it looks like our students have found a great way to cope with that. 
We wish them and the ESCP community a wonderful holiday season, full of adventures and new experiences.

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