International students choose between going home, staying at UT over break

Neelam Bohra

Ryuichi Yanagi, an international student from Shanghai, will not return to his home country over winter break. Instead, he will remain in h is private dormitory building, Dobie Twenty21 Student Spaces.

“It’s weird because I won’t really know anyone and most of my friends are going home, so I’ll be alone,” electrical engineering freshman Yanagi said. “I’ll have to be idle. I don’t enjoy that, but it’s too short of a time to actually get a job, and I wouldn’t know what places would hire.” 

Yanagi is in the 10 percent of international students who attend UT, according to the University’s website. Over winter break, international students choose between returning to their home countries or staying in the United States.

Students living on campus must move out of their residence hall by 9 a.m. on Dec. 20 and into San Jacinto Residence Hall if they plan to stay in UT winter housing. San Jacinto is the only open dorm on campus during break. Students can sign up to stay one week later than the move out date, return one week earlier than the move-in date, or stay over the whole break. 

“We have to have professional staff stay in a building, and we did that by consolidating everyone in San Jac,” said Ryan Colvin, assistant director of occupancy management for UT Housing. “We are trying to keep their safety and security, and that structure allows us to do that. Most students find it easy, as they just take necessities from their dorms and move into a different room for the break.”

Thirty one students signed up for winter housing in San Jacinto, Colvin said. Twelve are international students, which Colvin said was a high proportion.

Tatiana Woldman, assistant director for International Student & Scholar Services, said students do not usually approach her for help with winter housing needs.

“Many of our students do travel home over the break,” Woldman said. “Those remaining are usually very resourceful in finding housing.”

Computer science freshman Anirudh Goyal said he will return to his home in India over break.

“Since it’s freshman year, I wanted to go home,” Goyal said. “Next year, I might stay, since flight tickets are so expensive. It’s definitely hard, but I want to be able to see my parents at least once a year and if I get an internship over next summer, I would stay then. It’s important to visit them.”