International students brace themselves for homesickness, holiday travel | Tech US News

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Photographic illustration by Grace Everett | Photo editor

By Emma Weidmann | Staff writer

For many international students, the holidays can be a time to fly home and see family or a time to miss them more than ever.

Mexico City, Mexico junior Hyusuk Ricky Oh said during the semester that it can be difficult to be away from family for months at a time. It’s often too impractical to travel internationally for Thanksgiving, which makes for a lonely week in Waco while friends are away with their own families.

Oh said being away from home for months at a time makes him homesick, especially during the holidays.

“I got a lot of homesickness in my freshman and sophomore years, but over time I was able to find friends who would stay here in Waco with me or who were in the same situation as me as an international student,” Oh said. “Luckily I was able to make connections with them and just have company over Thanksgiving.”

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, freshman Pedro Enes doesn’t go home during Thanksgiving break. He said he’s going to stay here in Waco with a friend and experience his first American Thanksgiving.

“I’m excited about everything basically,” Enes said. “It’s a whole new tradition that I get to participate in, so I’m really excited about that. I’m really excited to be a part of American traditions.”

Homesickness is not a problem for him, Enes said. But as much as she’s enjoyed making memories here at Baylor with new friends, she said she’s looking forward to coming home to tell stories of her freshman year to her family, especially her two younger brothers.

“I live in a culture that’s not even close to mine,” Enes said. “I am the first in my family to leave the country and study abroad. That’s what excites me the most, is telling those stories and sharing my experiences with my little brothers.”

Traveling alone makes for a hectic time, but Oh said being at the airport only makes her more excited to go home.

“Instead of celebrating the holidays, it becomes about celebrating the reunion, which is true for many international families,” Oh said. “There’s a special element to it. It becomes more about being present with family and just enjoying each other’s company.”

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