Community / The Nation and the World

Where do international students go for school breaks?

As the holidays approach, an important question arises for all international students on campus. Where should they go for school breaks? The answer used to be simple–they would board a plane and go back home to spend time with their families. However, in the aftermath of the COVID epidemic, traveling restrictions eliminate that option for many. Thus, international students are required to devise their own holiday plans. 

Not being able to go home is certainly a difficulty for most, yet there are many solutions and many routes that students can take. If possible, parents would come to the States and spend time with their children just as they would back home. This is one of the most common solutions if going back home is not an option. 

Other students often have to formulate various creative ways to spend their breaks. Officially, Dana Hall offers students homestay programs in Boston they are partnered with that students can attend if they have nowhere else to go. These programs are, however, usually very expensive. Yvonne Hao ‘25, a Chinese international student, stated: “I went to the program that our school recommended. It was fine, but not worth the price as they’re actually just booking a hotel room for you. Moreover, they only offer two meals per day and have a very early curfew that limits my activities.” 

Some international students who have friends that live in the States would choose to go to their house for school breaks. It is much cheaper than signing up for a program and some believe also more convenient. Lastly, some students would book a hotel room with their friends and stay there by themselves. Bolin Miao’25, a Chinese boarding student, said, “I usually just stay at a  hotel in Boston with my friends. You have a lot of freedom that way and it’s always a good time.” 

In the future, as traveling restrictions loosen up, international students might be able to go home like they did before for school breaks. However, given the status quo, no one can guarantee how long it may take for that to happen. Therefore, it is the hope of many parents that Dana Hall can open the dorms in the future for school breaks. That way, students and parents do not need to worry about possibly having nowhere to go for school breaks. Nevertheless, there are many practical difficulties that Dana Hall would encounter if they open dorms during school breaks, one of the largest being faculty members and employees also needing the break to go back home. Therefore, as of this year, Dana Hall would not be opening dorms to international students during school breaks.

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