By Matt Mainuli ’13
As the holiday season nears, the majority of Trinity College students start thinking about returning home for a few days. They book flights out west, trains to D.C. or simply find a ride back to the Connecticut shore. However, for 70 international students last year, Trinity was deemed “home” during Thanksgiving and Winter Break. This year, international students – almost eight percent of our student population – will face the same situation during the winter months.
To accommodate these students, a small group of dedicated individuals in Residential Life, Campus Safety, the iHouse and the Center for Urban and Global Studies hosts events, provides meals and even opens their homes to these students for whom returning home for a few weeks may not be possible or practical.
This year, the Center for Urban and Global Studies is asking for more participation, as explained in a Trinity Today email on Sunday, Nov. 13.
Lead by Program Coordinator, International Students and Scholars Tamara Kribs, the email calls for faculty and staff to volunteer to have students over for Thanksgiving dinner, or to host events such as skiing, snowboarding, theatre trips and shopping trips. The iHouse is having a Thanksgiving dinner for students on campus this year as well. Also, the iHouse has an international table in Mather Hall during common hour on Thursdays.
Events held on campus include sledding down the hill by the chapel, group meals at the iHouse and bowling nights. Since meal plans shut down over winter breaks, the international students who stay on campus must find other means of sustenance besides the Cave, Mather and the Bistro.
For most students this means cooking their own food or ordering out. Last year, the iHouse was very successful in having regular meals available for students over break. Additionally, workshops are provided so that international students can get a U.S. driver’s license and learn to file taxes. Students are also taught the ins and outs of certain immigration procedures that they may encounter during their time in America.
Two groups make up the international student population on campus. Trinity College has 58 undergraduates on student visas and an additional 12-15 students on exchange programs from countries such as Trinidad, Germany and Hungary. Exchange students will only study at Trinity for a semester or two, and will hold what is know as a “J” visa. Students matriculated for four years hold an “F” visa.
From the Deans to the staff members, approximately five to 10 people have hosted students during breaks. This list of people includes Dean of Students Fred Alford, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rena Fraden, Assistant Professor of American Studies Scott Tang and Assistant Professor of History and American Studies Scott Gac.
Thanksgiving break is Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27. If you are available to help in any way please contact Tamara Kribs at Tamara.Kribs@trincoll.edu.