Spring Break provides obstacle for some International Students

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For many St. Cloud State students, the week long break in March is a much appreciated opportunity to unwind. It’s during this time that many students seize the opportunity to travel to warmer climates, work more hours, visit family, or simply participate in hobbies they enjoy.

However, this year’s spring break possess even more issues for international students than in the past. Similar to previous years, on campus dining is extremely limited with Coffee and Bagels being open from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Erberts and Gerberts being open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. from Monday Mar. 6 through Friday Mar. 10. Also, according to the SCSU website, all Atwood dining services will be closed Mar. 4, 5 and 11.

With dorms also closed for all students besides those in the international program, the week could prove to be a lonely affair.

“I don’t have a plan for spring break,” said Hasna Aldahnim, one of SCSU’s international students living on campus. It seems the week will provide an opportunity for students in a similar situation to catch up on studying or simply spend time with their fellow international students who elect to stay on campus on campus.
While nine days is likely not enough time to travel back to one’s home country, the looming travel ban could muddle those hopes anyway. But many international students who are able, elect to travel in groups with their friends to go sightseeing at various locations across the United States.

Another international student, Amretta Timalsina said, “I am planning to see my sister who is [a] student [in] Texas.” Last year she said she traveled with a group of friends to Colorado over spring break to tour the scenic area. Alternatively, she also mentioned it would not be feasible for her to travel back home to Nepal as the journey alone takes two days in one direction.

Timalsina, who is a student advisor with the SCSU International Student Association, also provides further insight into how many international students spend spring break.

She mentions some of her friends plan to stay with their fellow classmates families over break due to the lack of dining options available on campus. Timalsina also mentioned those staying on campus will face complications in their transportation schedules as the buses near campus will not be operating according to their usual times.

With so many issues facing international students, Timalsina said this is, “why most of the international students living [on] campus prefer to [stay at] a friend’s place.”

For other international students like Elisha Shrestha, who works at the Marriott Courtyard in downtown St. Cloud, their plans may not be much different than their American classmates. She plans to spend spring break working as well as enjoying time with her friends.

The issue of limited dining options is something international students can easily overcome by simply getting out and spending time together.

“They have to go outside of the dorm for food,” Shrestha said, as she already has plans to barbeque and cook together with her friends during the week.

Spring break is a time best shared and remembered with friends. Even if you are unable to travel, Shrestha’s advice may prove valuable for international students as it is important to remember others are in similar situations over break. There may be a friend just down the hall willing to cook a meal with you, so it is important to venture out of the dorms and spend time with people.

Bailey is a senior at St. Cloud State University pursuing a B.S. in Marketing with an emphasis on Digital Marketing. He is known to hold overly high expectations for the Minnesota Vikings each season.