College students across the country always look forward to holiday breaks. It’s a time where we can put the books and laptops down to spend time with hometown friends and family. In a couple weeks, students will be heading home for Thanksgiving break.
Thanksgiving has always put international students in a rather awkward situation because this isn’t a holiday that they would celebrate in their home country, nor a long enough break to fly across seas. For this reason many international stay here on Hawk Hill. The campus becomes a total ghost town leaving many people with questions to ask international students staying on campus.
We were curious to feel what it is like to be an international student here at SJU. Will Campion stay open, or how exactly do they feel about spending a holiday alone on campus? Meet two students below who will be celebrating Thanksgiving differently this year.
Nicole Kruger, a freshman on the Saint Joseph’s University Field Hockey team, is in store for a new experience. Kruger’s hometown, Bloemfontein, South Africa, is over 8,000 miles away. She was disappointed knowing she won’t be back in her hometown this break, but with the help of meeting new friends Kruger will be experiencing her first Thanksgiving in the states.
Paige Diminick, a freshman lacrosse player, has welcomed Kruger into her home for the break. Kruger says, “I never really knew what Thanksgiving meant. I am so excited to see the table set and lined with so much food.”
Tareq Alsaad is an international student from Kuwait. This year, Alsaad will stay on campus for Thanksgiving break. Last year, “I celebrated Thanksgiving over at a friend’s house in New Jersey, but I sometimes felt I was an inconvenience at the house,” Alsaad said. For Thanksgiving break, Alsaad has to submit a form that will allow him to stay in one of the residential dorms on campus. The open dorms are: McShain, Merion Gardens, Rashford, and the Townhouses.
“I picked the Townhouses because my good friend lives there and will ‘host’ me for the break,” says Alsaad. Living on campus alone has its pros and cons.
After explaining how Campion is open during the break, he told us that since he lives off campus without a meal plan, he doesn’t intend on commuting to school for Campion. While the rest of campus is closed, he plans to host an old friend from out of town and to further explore Philly. They plan to visit The Franklin Institute, The Liberty Bell, and the Zoo.
Many of the international students create new friendships with other international students. They are able to exchange their different cultures and rely on each other when feeling home sick. Students come from Germany, Spain, Croatia and Puerto Rico. Some of these students are lucky enough to go home for break.
Attending school far from home can be lonely, but the time alone is a great way to relax and catch up on work.The Drexel Library has adjusted their times to be open for students on campus. Alsaad and Kruger are two students who “cannot wait to go home and see family and friends over winter break.”