International students face dilemma of where to go over winter break
As finals came to an end and most students packed their bags to return home for the holidays, international students decided where to stay over winter break.
Often as a result of the distance from home and the cost to get there, some decide to remain in Bloomington or travel around the country.
Xiang “Sylvia” Lian is a freshman from Guangxi, an autonomous region in southern China. Because of the expensive plane tickets and a flight longer than 15 hours, Lian and some of her IU friends from Guangxi decided to spend winter break traveling to Chicago, New York City and Yale University.
According to Lian, most of her international friends at IU stayed in the United States for similar reasons. Though she has not seen her family since she left for Indiana this summer, Lian said she talks to them often.
“They talk to me everyday. They call me, and it’s not so hard,” Lian said.
However, for other international students, such as Michaela Dumesny, reconnecting with family and friends was a significant factor in deciding to make the trip all the way home.
Dumesny is from Nelson, Australia, and has an interest in motorsports. Given the summer weather in Australia this time of year, she was excited to get home to join her family in all the fun.
“Going from snow during our finals to come over here, and it was about — the hottest was probably 110° — so going from snow to that I was just... It’s very different,” Dumesny said.
Dumesny arrived home from Indiana on Dec. 17 and spent her time this break catching up with family through motorsports in Warrnambool, Australia; Sydney; and Tasmania, Australia.
“I suppose I did think about staying over, but I missed my family a bit, and I have a dog over here that I really missed,” Dumesny said. “Being that it was the beginning of racing season, it was easy to catch up with a lot of people in one place. It just worked out better for me.”
The Office of International Services at IU does not keep track of where international students decide to spend their winter breaks, said Rendy Schrader, the director of Student and Scholar Advising at OIS.
Schrader said she believes most international students typically travel during break. They either go back home or somewhere in the U.S. A few did stay in Bloomington.
For those who did chose to stay in town, Residential Programs and Services offered students the opportunity to sign up for winter break housing for a charge of $200 billed to the student’s bursar account.
Troy Wood, the assistant director for Outreach and Logistics at RPS, said there were about 40 to 50 students that signed up for winter break housing. Other students in Union Street, Willkie Quad and the Hillcrest Apartments had extended contracts, which allowed them to stay during break without having to sign up for break housing.
Students that did sign up stayed in lounges in Eigenmann Hall and Forest Quad. The students were provided beds and typically shared a lounge with two or three other people. No dining facilities were open, but RPS did have limited staff on call to handle rounds and incidents like lock-outs.
Dumesny said although she received information for break housing, she did not pay close attention to the emails because she knew the option was not for her.
“I did receive an email about it, but if I was to stay, I probably would want to be traveling over that time,” she said. “I loved the idea of a white Christmas, but I missed my family, so I decided to come back.”