WRITTEN BY: NICK CHARLES
The long winter break between the fall and spring semesters is one of the most anticipated moments of the school year. It is a time to go home, celebrate the holidays, as well as catch up with family, friends, and enjoy some much-needed relaxation away from school. However, for some students going home is not an option.
Here at Temple, there are nearly 3,000 international students from over 110 different countries. For most of these international students, home is thousands of miles away. Due to high travel costs, many of these students do not have the opportunity to go home over the winter break.
Dr. Martyn Miller, Executive Director of International Student and Scholar Services here at Temple, explained that the vast majority of international students do not go home. However, many of the students who stay in the states take advantage of the time off from classes.
“That’s what they do, they take the opportunity to travel around the country over the long break when class is not in session. The popular areas are New Orleans, Florida, California, and Las Vegas,” Miller says.
Miller also talked about the program called “Tem-Pals” in which international students are matched up with Temple alumni.
“A lot of times we have the alumni invite the student who they are matched up with over to their house for part of a break. Over this past Thanksgiving we matched 171 students up with alumni members through this program,” Miller said.
Although Temple does an exceptional job of providing the necessities for its international students, the one thing it cannot do is grant their wish of being able to go home for the holidays. For some students, it can be upsetting to not have the opportunity to go home.
Samuel Nebyu, a Violin Performance major from Belgium is one of the many international students that will not be traveling home over the holidays.
“Sometimes, I get frustrated that I can only go home once a year. It’s just too expensive of a trip for the short amount of time,” Samuel said. “Over the breaks, I hang out with some other international students who also do not go home, however, over this coming break I am traveling to Florida with my girlfriend.”
Like Samuel, Yuri Xie, a Music Major from Bejing, China cannot go home over the break. “The break is just too short. I will probably just stay here at Temple and practice,” Yuri said.
However, unlike Yuri and Samuel, Siwei Cao, an International Business major is planning on making the 16-hour trip back to his hometown of Kurla, China.
“I only go home about twice a year so I’m looking forward to seeing my family and spending time back in my hometown,” Siwei said.
Over the shorter breaks, such as Thanksgiving and spring break, Siwei goes to Ohio where his host family of the past two years lives.
Siwei also recommends that all Temple students should reach out and befriend an international student. “It will make them feel more comfortable and when a break rolls around if they do not have a place to go, invite them to go with you at your home.”