Freshman Wenyi Yang, from Beijing, is staying on campus for fall break. Going home would mean a 13-hour plane ride, not including the time spent at the airport.
“It doesn’t make sense for me to go home,” Yang said. “I’ll be home for maybe a day then have to go on the plane again.”
Yang is one of approximately 25 international students staying on campus during fall break, according to the Global Education Center.
Senior Zoe Budsworth, an international student ambassador at the GEC, said this number is about average. In comparison to other breaks, Budsworth said that “a lot more people tend to stay for fall break because it’s such a short time.”
Budsworth is originally from the U.K., but her family now lives in North Carolina. As an international student herself, she said coming to the U.S. for college and transitioning to a different culture can be hard.
“I really want to make sure the international students coming really feel comfortable here from the get-go,” Budsworth said, explaining why she became involved as an ambassador for international students.
Budsworth said she believes distance is the main reason why international students choose to stay during fall break. She also mentioned not having anywhere to go, catching up on sleep and getting ahead on studies as other reasons why international students choose to stay.
Since the dining halls will have limited hours, Budsworth said, “if people contact us and want to go on a shopping trip before the break, we’re willing to work that out.”
For those staying on campus over break, Melody Harter, program assistant at the Center for Leadership and staff adviser for the Asian Pacific Student Association, is hosting an event.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, Harter will host “Weekend Wontons,” a chance for international students to eat together, socialize and learn how to make a new dish.
As a Chinese-American, Chinese food is something that reminds Harter of her heritage.
“I wanted to bring a little bit of home and fun here at Elon because I know, for international students, it’s hard to travel or go home for such a short break,” she said.
Harter described wontons as comfort food, comparing wontons to macaroni and cheese for Americans.
“Food is such a great way to get to know people, and if you’re willing to try it and to get to know people through something that’s important to them, it can help break down barriers and biases,” Harter said.
Yang said food is one of the only things she misses about home, and she was excited to hear about this opportunity at Elon.
According to Budsworth, even though events such as these haven’t always existed, opportunities for international students are continuing to expand.
Budsworth said she highly recommends students go to the event on Saturday.
Having the time to sleep in and hang out with friends is something Yang is looking forward to.
She said she is excited for break — to stay at Elon and of course, to sleep.