International students find ways to spend winter break

Anderson Hall pokes through the drab gray sky and freshly fallen snow Feb. 21, 2013. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Many Kansas State students spend winter break at home, relaxing with friends and family and taking a break from the chaos of school. While many students can go home throughout the semester, that is not always an option for international students. Winter break is often the first opportunity international students have to go home.

Three students from China all plan to spend their breaks a little differently. Two are making the 14,000-mile round trip to see family, while one is staying in the U.S.

Jintao Hu, junior in economics, is going to make the trek home to Nanjing, China, for break. Hu left for school in August, meaning he has not seen his family in nearly five months. Hu said he cannot wait to be reunited with his friends and family.

“I don’t really have any big plans while I am home,” Hu said. “Nothing really special; family reunion and hanging out.”

Although Hu is looking forward to going home, he wished the break were longer so he would have more time to see extended family.

“Nothing really stands in my way of going home, everything goes pretty well,” Hu said. “Probably just wish the break lasts longer.”

While Hu will be traveling back to China, Yuning Chen, junior in philosophy, from Guangzhou, China, will be spending her break a little differently. Chen will be traveling throughout the United States over break.

“I am planning on going to California and Florida and maybe New York,” Chen said. “I am traveling around to go see friends and cousins that go to different universities.”

Chen is only studying abroad at K-State for one year, so she wants to get the most out of her time here and decided to stay in the States for break.

“We are going to Disneyland, and my cousin and I want to visit a lot of our friends that go to UCLA in California,” Chen said.

Chen plans to go home in May and said she has enjoyed her semester at K-State so much that she is not missing home quite yet.

“It was hard leaving my family at the airport, but I actually don’t miss my family at all,” Chen said.

While Chen is not ready to go home yet, Keran Wang, sophomore in mechanical engineering, is ready to be home and spend time with family. Wang is also from China.

“Study abroad, the hardest thing is the distance, and it’s the time I missed with my family,” Wang said.

Although break is not long enough for Wang to do all the things she wants to do, it gives her enough time to see her family, which is all that really matters to her.

“The Chinese New Year is the most important festival,” Wang said. “We always celebrate it with the whole family, but the date changes every year and this year it is Jan. 28. I won’t be able to stay that long but still I will be seeing family, and have bunch of food.”

Wang noted the biggest difference between Kansas and China is the food.

“Definitely the food, every time I went back (to China) I had gained almost 10 pounds,” Wang said.

Chen said she also thought the food was much healthier in China.

“I have gained a lot of weight since I got here,” Chen said. “The food is much higher in calories than in China.”

Although the food might be a tad bit unhealthier, all three students said they have loved their time at K-State.

“The best part about K-State has been becoming more independent, and I met my best friend here, who was my roommate last year,” Wang said.