Winter break is almost upon Oregon State University. While most will go home to visit family and relax, some international students will remain on campus.

With classes done until winter term, OSU can appear to be empty. It is this empty environment in which international students may decide to stay on-campus. Even with classes not being in session, OSU still has opportunities for people staying over break.  

According to Melissa Greff, the resident director for the International Living Learning Center, students can stay in their dorms over break if they have a contract with University Housing and Dining Services going into winter of 2020. 

Those who stay in the dorms will have resident assistants and resident directors to talk to if they need anything over the break. UHDS will provide events for students staying as well. 

“We’re working on an event for New Year’s Eve,” Greff said via email. 

Events will occur during this time to help keep a sense of community for students remaining over break. Any international students staying on break will still have access to the necessities, such as dining halls and resident services. 

The event for New Year’s Eve will take place for on-campus residents only. Southside Station will be the only dining hall remaining open if students decide to eat on-campus. CAPS will stay open over the winter except for holidays, if any student over break needs to talk to a professional for support.  

“If people are feeling like they need something and aren’t sure where to go, they can always come see us,” Weber said. “We’re definitely able to help them figure out where they should go.”

International students who remain, may prefer to stay on campus over the winter break, like international junior and electrical engineering student Mazen Elsheikh, who has experience staying on campus during winter break. 

“I think I prefer it that way. I like things quiet. Of course I like being with friends and at gatherings, but overall, it’s a little easier to get around campus when there’s no one around,” Elsheikh said. 

Elsheikh has stayed in Corvallis for the last two winter breaks, and he is preparing for his third break now.

According to Elsheikh, he feels international students should research about what resources are available over break. Whether those resources are through OSU or the city of Corvallis. 

Not every international student enjoys the quietness of Corvallis the same as Elsheikh. Graphic design major and international student Jae Hyun Kim had the opposite feelings about staying in Corvallis during winter break.

Kim said that she felt lonely in Corvallis during the winter break. With her family in another country and Kim’s friends going back home she found herself alone. Kim realized with the holidays meant for spending time with family staying at OSU by herself was hard.  

Even if international students are staying over winter break, it doesn’t mean they have to stay tied-down to campus. Students can go explore places they have never been before. Taking trips to Portland or Bend, Ore., to the coast, or even local attractions are also options for many students.

“If you’re going to stay in the town during the winter break, I think it is a good chance to travel Oregon such as Crater Lake, Mary’s Peak, or Smith Rock. They have a beautiful landscape,” Kim said via email. 

Current students staying for break won’t be the only ones who are adjusting to an empty school. New international students will be arriving at OSU for the winter 2020 term while break is still in session. 

“The group that is hardest for is those new students who are coming over winter break,” Weber said. 

Orientation for these new students is going on during the break. This would be an opportunity for any international student wanting to be active during break, to lend a helping hand.

“New international students should try to make connections as soon as they can and as many connections as they can. Just so that there is someone with them during the break to hang out with,” Elsheikh said.  

Plenty of options remain available at OSU over break. International students can work both on-campus and off-campus jobs, participate in research, or volunteer for winter orientation. The Office of International Affairs can aid in the search for whatever a student wants to accomplish over the break.

“A break is a good time to learn something that you couldn’t get during the term such as yoga, crafts or cooking,” Kim said via email.

(1) comment


Holidays can be a lonely time because being an international student away from home is difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey.

Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.

Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.”

Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.

It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

Good luck to all at OSU or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.

Welcome to the discussion.

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