Travelling Back Home for the Winter Break 

As an international student, being away from my family for months can be lonely therefore I cherish every opportunity I get to travel back home to the Cayman Islands and spend quality time with my family. 

View of Cayman from an airplane window

In this blog I will share a little on how we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s at home, as well as some insights on how I manage exams during the winter break while at home. 

Christmas in Cayman 

Christmas is one of my favourite holidays and I love to keep the family traditions alive. Some of our Christmas traditions include going to see the Christmas lights, having a sleepover on Christmas eve with my immediate family, lighting fireworks at midnight, waking up early to open gifts and having a big family get together on Christmas day.

Some houses around the Island invite the public to come and look at their Christmas light displays and decorations and it is always a good activity to do with family to start the season. 

Old Caymanian House Decorated for Christmas

New Years in Cayman 

The most popular tradition on New Year’s Eve in Cayman is to light fireworks at midnight to bring in the New Year. Many residents do this at the famous Seven Mile Beach with people setting up camp from late in the afternoon to secure their spot. There are always good vibes in the atmosphere, and you can feel the New Year spirit. 

New Year’s Fireworks on Seven Mile Beach

When the clock strikes 12 you can see fireworks being lit from all the shores on Seven Mile Beach, in neighbourhoods and even out at sea.

How I Manage Exams While at Home During the Winter Break

Because I try to stay at home for as long as I can, this usually means that I am home during the January exam period. Due to the nature of my course, many of my assessments are written assignments (coursework) or online open book exams. 

I normally start the individual assignments before I travel home so that I can have more free time to spend with my family and friends. I then work on it throughout txhe break and try to get it completed before the deadline because I have a slight fear that I will miss the deadline due to the time difference. 

With all group projects, I meet with them in person weeks before I travel, and I let my group know when I will be travelling. We then arrange deadlines to get the research done and format the assignment. It is crucial to keep them updated on your progress of the assignment and reply in a timely manner to all messages.

DO NOT GO GHOST JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE HOME! Be respectful of your group members and their time.

I prefer to study with some background noise so the noise in my house does not bother me. However, since I sometimes get bored of staying in one study space, some days I visit cafes or the public library.

If I do have exams, I tell my family beforehand when the exams are and ask them to not disturb me during that time and to keep noise levels down. I also remind them on the day, and I place a sign on my door reminding them that I am in an exam.

The only downside to staying at home during the exam period is the time difference between the UK and Cayman. There is a 5-hour time difference which means that if the exam is scheduled for 10am UK time, I will have to take the exam at 5am Cayman time. For assignments due at 4pm UK time, I must submit by 11am Cayman time. 

Sleep is the price I pay to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea at home. 

If you would like some more tips on how I manage exam stress while at home, please let me know. See you in the next blog 🙂