A home for the holidays: international students’ holiday plans

By Kristin Troyer – Horizon Editor-in-Chief

As Christmas break approaches, students are ready to trade visions of papers and final exams for sugar plums. But for students from the 13 different countries represented at Hesston College, Christmas break doesn’t always mean heading home. Hesston’s international students have a wide variety of plans for the upcoming break.

Carlota Ponds, director of international student services said that not many students will be staying around – around four will be in the Hesston or Newton area. One of these students is Kaho Yanagidaira who will be lodging with a friend in Newton.

“I stayed with them last summer, too,” she said. “I plan to get some rest, study English and Bible, play music, and practice driving!”

That means she’ll miss some beloved Japanese traditions. 

A New Year's meal in Japan. Photo courtesy of Kaho Yanagidaira
A New Year’s meal in Japan. Photo courtesy of Kaho Yanagidaira

“In Japan, New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday, and we eat special foods to wish fortune and happiness for the year.”

Many students will be celebrating with family or friends in the U.S. Some are going home with their roommates or other friends, and a couple even have family coming from overseas to visit them.

Fred Flores will not be heading home to Honduras for break; instead he will be going to Tennessee to see some friends.

“I have been there once before like five years ago, but my friends told me they would take me hunting this time,” Flores said.

“For Christmas, we have a tradition that we go to my grandparents on the 31st with my whole extended family and make food and have a good time together,” he continued. “I really miss the food and my family. It’s kind of hard because that’s what we used to do together before I came to Hesston, and I’m not going to be there.”

Sophomore Chanhee Hwang is looking forward to spending time in Florida and then coming back to Hesston to study for taking her driver’s test.

Not everyone has such elaborate plans. Karen Penner is heading home to Mexico for break.

“I’m just going home to spend time my family and friends and my dogs.”

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