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WVU’s international students prepare for winter break


The Daily Athenaeum

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU international students discuss if they will go home or not over winter break.

For many like Hadeel Hejazi, a senior aerospace engineering student from Amman, Jordan, and president of the International Student Organization, flying home is a financial impossibility.

“Ever since I came to Morgantown, I haven’t traveled much at all, actually,” Hejazi said. “International students, unfortunately, don’t have much offered to them from work or financial aid, so I must always try my best to stay focused and earn money to at least help my parents financially.”

But Hejazi prefers the peace and quiet over the holidays, when campus dissolves into somewhat of a ghost town.

“I always try to figure out ways to have fun, like see who is around, go to the gym as much as I can– swim, even– and read books. It’s very empty around any holiday in Morgantown,” Hejazi said. “It makes me think I’m on this spa vacation for rejuvenating my brain.”

Abdul Almassrahy, a junior biology student, will journey home to Saudi Arabia this year. Morgantown in December is just too cold for him.

“It is warm and nice back home, and I get to see my family and friends,” Almassrahy said. “Whenever I have a break, I tend to travel and explore what is around me. If I am in the USA, I usually travel to places I have never been to. If I go back home, I like to visit family and friends who live in different cities other than my hometown, so that way I get to explore new places.”

When he does stay on campus for breaks, Almassrahy connects with other international students remaining on campus for coffee, traditional food, movies and outdoor activities– barbecuing, camping and hiking among them.

For Abdullatif Abdullah, a freshman civil engineering student from Saudi Arabia, this holiday is a momentous occasion.

It will be his first home visit in over two years.

Before coming to WVU this past spring, he didn’t have time to return to the Middle East due to travel.

While visiting his sister in Tucson, Arizona, is fun, he admits there is always the drawback of homesickness.

“Staying here for break makes you feel really bad,” Abdullah said. “Because if you didn’t see your family especially for a long time, you’ll miss them even if you have a good time in the U.S.”

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