Friends for Dinner: Christmas Dinner with a German Family as an International Student


Being an international student is hard. Yes, it is exciting – there’s so much to see, so many people to meet, so many interesting perspectives, but the truth is it’s hard. Lonely nights, lonely winters, not feeling like you belong, and always looking for that something, those little doses of exciting moments which make it worth it. An exchange of culture over delicious dinner and positive vibes – Friends for Dinner was that moment.

My friend and I registered for the Friends for Dinner program as soon as we got the email. We both love traveling, and we’ve seen a lot of places within Germany and Europe during our stays so far. We love dreamy landscapes, fairytale cities, and medieval architecture. But more than that, we love people and culture. Friends for Dinner’s opportunity to visit a German family and celebrate Christmas with them; we jumped at that offer.

We were matched with a host family, Peter and Deborah Lieder, who lived in a small town not so far from Mainz. Peter and Deborah, along with their three amazing children, welcomed us at the train station in Osthofen. We felt comfortable immediately. 

We prepared fruit salad together while conversing about various things. About how Deborah had volunteered in India, how we celebrated our festivals, how it feels to be an international student in Germany, and how Peter and Deborah met and fell in love : ) . During all this, it was also exciting to watch the children playing with their favorite toys and also with each other.

When the dinner was ready, we all sang and prayed together, expressing our gratitude towards God for the food on the table. We had seen it in movies, but never experienced it firsthand. We all enjoyed the delicious dinner. We then lit up the Christmas tree that was amazingly decorated and continued our conversations. We listened to Peter’s Saxophone recordings and his love for music; we were awed to watch Liam play with his toy kitchen set where he was busy cooking and cleaning; we listened to Deborah’s experience of volunteering in Paraguay. We just loved our time with Peter and Deborah’s family.

In our countries, we always turned outward to celebrate Christmas. Going out to malls, partying with friends, going to musical pubs – ‘cuz it’s Christmas and we partyyy! But here we were celebrating it the way it’s supposed to be celebrated, by turning inwards. Having amazing dinner-time conversation and spending quality time with a family that loved each other and embraced their culture and tradition wholeheartedly. And to be a part of that, we are truly grateful. : ) 

I dedicate this post to all the international students in Germany to encourage them to steal one great evening from this regular whirlwind of foreign struggle, and as a gratitude to amazing families like Peter and Deborah’s, who accepted this idea to welcome a complete stranger to their house and offer an amazing cultural experience. And finally, to the entire Friends for Dinner program organizers for making it all happen. : )


I love traveling and I love writing about it. It's my sincere hope that through my content, you will find some helpful information and inspiration for your own travels. :)

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  1. Hi Bidish,
    Really great report on your time with
    Peter and Deborah! Very food to hear
    How much you enjoyed it.
    Super feedback.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Henk. I am glad you liked it. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing. 🙂

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