Foreign Exchange Students Not Home For The Holidays


Picture from Maria Antonela Gomez’s 2018 Christmas with her parents, Brother and Grandmother.

Jacob Burgardt

Wauwatosa West Foreign exchange students Jakob Hochbaum and Maria Antonia GomezDomorese are spending their first Christmas in America this year. 

They’re spending Christmas in a different country with people who are not their family. 

Normally, these two students celebrate their own Christmas traditions much like the traditions that we practice here. 

“We go to church on Christmas eve, we get our presents on Christmas eve as well and it’s just me and my family. My parents, siblings, and that’s it. And then maybe two days after Christmas we go and visit our extended family.” Hochbaum says. 

“We have a very big dinner with family, it’s very typical to eat meat, a lot of meat, like a barbecue. It’s normal to have dinner at 10 pm and then go to church at 12. Then we exchange gifts in the morning after church,” GomezDomrose says. 

This year, the students are celebrating something new. 

“I’m not sure exactly what we’re going to be doing but we are going to spend it with the family and exchange gifts, and we put up a Christmas tree, ” GomezDomrose says. 

Hochbaum has similar plans.

Hochbaum says, “Here, we’re celebrating with the extended family, everyone’s coming and then we have to go from one grandparents house to the other and switch all day long and we’re getting our presents later I think, but it’s going to be more people this time.”