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Five Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July Abroad


It’s easy to get swept up in the fun of Fourth of July celebrations here in the states. Who doesn’t love a day off and a BBQ with fireworks to top it all off? But it’s important to consider your Fourth of Julyemployees who may find themselves out of the country during a purely American holiday for the first time. Many expats will face a common challenge this year: How can they celebrate Independence day without coming across as culturally insensitive in their new home? As an assignee, it’s important that your employee considers their surroundings when planning any sort of celebration.


While some options, like running down the street with an American flag cape yelling “USA, USA, USA!” are off the table completely, celebrating is not out of the question by any means. Help your transferee by sharing these three options for celebrating the 4th abroad.


  1. Attend a local event: The US Embassies and Consulates are great about hosing events that pertain to American holidays. While many are invitation only, it never hurts to learn more information. But government agencies are not the only resources. Do some research into expat communities nearby and get involved. Not only will you likely find a celebration to attend, but you’ll meet people and expand your network as well which will only make life abroad easier.
  2. Host a BBQ: Can’t find a local event to attend? Host one yourself. Make some of your favorite dishes from home and invite your friends and neighbors over. You can make things really seem like home by ordering some American snacks online, like on Amazon, or hitting up an American import store. This is a very appropriate and non-obnoxious way to share more about your home culture, which brings me to my next point …
  3. Learn, share, and create new traditions: Sure, you may not be able to attend your favorite waterfront fireworks show but you can tell stories about how you celebrate back in the states and why those moments meant a lot to you. Be sure to ask your local friends about their traditions too! They may not celebrate the Fourth of July but I’m willing to bet there are some traditional holidays they do celebrate that you don’t know about yet. The best part about traditions is creating them so why not come up with something new in your new home?


The reality is that celebrating American holidays abroad will never be the same as celebrating them at home. But if you’re having fun, sharing traditions, and embracing your new culture, the Fourth of July will still be memorable.


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