Christmas has come early for the Angel Café in Salford as it hosted the Students from Manchester and Salford for their Christmas party at ‘Salford International Café’.

Created by Friends International, a Manchester charity that hosts events for international students, the event helps the students make friends and learn about Christmas.

Graham Stockton, an organiser at Friends International, said: “They may not celebrate Christmas in their own countries. I think by sharing Christmas traditions with them here helps them to understand whats going on around them.

“It makes them feel a lot more at home here when they understand and take part in some of the celebrations.”

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For many students moving to another country is daunting, isolating and confusing. The organisation hopes to help combat this.

Graham said: “We know that it can be very difficult, it can be very lonely especially for international students, being here missing home and finding the culture so difficult to understand.

“So, we want to make them feel at home here and it gives us great joy to be able to give that to them.”

The students come from many different countries and some have never celebrated Christmas before. They think the event is a great way to meet new people and boost their confidence in a new country.

Sarul, one of the students who attended the event and is originally from Mongolia, said: “I really find this joyful because I have never celebrated Christmas before. To move to another country was very tough for me and the people, especially the organisers and all the international people help me to be friends.”

Another of the organisers at Friends International, Sabine Stockton, came to England as an international student from Germany. Even though she felt like she did know a lot about what was going on, she still felt very alone and encountered many challenges.

From this she remembers what it was like to be in a new country and wishes to help other settle in a bit quicker.

Salford’s International Cafe Christmas Party
Image Credit: Oliver Cummins-Hylton

She said: “It’s really about bringing people together from different nations, to celebrate different nations, but also being a bit of a family, for people who are away from home.

“I first came to Britain many years ago to study i was an international student. Even though I came from a European country and in some ways knew a lot about what was happening here i still felt far away from my family, things were still a bit different.

“I still had to make new friends and had a lot of challenges and so i remember what it’s like to be new and so if I could help people to settle a bit quicker than that would be wonderful.”

The Angel Café host ‘Salford international Café’ night every Friday between 6-8 pm.

Image Credits: Oliver Cummins-Hylton

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