International students stay on campus during winter break

Instead of driving to see his family during the holidays, as many students are able to do, media and communication technology senior Kubatbek Alimbekov’s commute home involves a 30-hour trip where he must endure three separate flights and pay for a $4,000 ticket to see his family in Kyrgyzstan.

To save both time and money, Alimbekov has spent the past five holiday seasons away from his family, like many other international students at MSU. This year, Alimbekov will do his best to spread holiday cheer to his residence hall floor in Hubbard Hall where he is a resident assistant.

“I have several friends who are here for the holidays,” Alimbekov said. “So we’re going to spend the holidays together and have a holiday dinner.”

The university keeps Hubbard, Butterfield and McDonel halls open during the break for students, such as Alimbekov, who rely on university housing during the break, said Ashley Chaney, assistant director of communications for MSU Residence Education and Housing Services.

Since Owen and Van Hoosen halls, as well as University Village and Spartan Village apartment complexes, cater to older students because they provide more of an independent living experience, Chaney said they also will remain open during the break.

Last year, 250 students utilized the between-semester housing option, and Chaney said the university considers students’ between-semester needs when placing them in residence halls at the beginning of the academic year.

“When they first apply for housing, they are asked if they will need housing between semesters,” Chaney said. “If they indicate that they will, we place them in one of those halls.”

The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, 219 S. Harrison Road, also offers discounted rates — $45.00 a day for a single room and $30.00 to share a double — for students who need housing between semesters.

Theatre sophomore Sarah Rydel said she couldn’t imagine spending the three-week period between semesters in East Lansing because of the inevitable lull that occurs in college towns during academic breaks.

“I wouldn’t stay here, even if I had a house or apartment,” Rydel said. “I want to go see people I haven’t seen, and (catch) up with everyone.”

Alimbekov, who spent the past two holidays with a host family in Louisiana, said the biggest thing he’ll miss this season is the homey feeling his dorm room is less likely to offer. He said he’ll miss having a Christmas tree and exchanging gifts on Christmas day.

“There’s not much (holiday spirit) on campus — not as much as we would do with family,” Alimbekov said. “That’s the main part, but I’m still going to send gifts to my host family for Christmas.”

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