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International students spend break at Drake

While the general Drake University population was out and about enjoying their official week’s rest from school work, doing a variety of fun-filled and exciting things ranging from spreading the holy gospel in the Dominican Republic to visiting friends and family, a group of students, mostly international students, took refuge in Goodwin-Kirk from what appeared to be the loneliness campus version of a ghost town.

Staying at GK provided some freshmen this year a platform to assess whether staying there during their sophomore year would be feasible or not. For others, it was simply a golden opportunity to experience how the other half of Drake lives. The majority of the students in GK were international students; therefore, one could make an assumption that given an opportunity like this, these students would do some travelling and see the places in the USA that they have always wanted to see without having to worry about school work. But for those housed in GK over Spring Break, traveling across America was not a priority.

First-year Innocent Mutanga, a Zimbabwean native, is majoring in actuarial science and said that he had too much other things to do.

“I am busy studying for my probability exam (for actuarial science), which I am going to be taking in May,” Mutanga said. “I do not have time to waste chasing the wind.”

But Byron Ceo, a Chinese native who is also a freshman majoring in actuarial science and secondary education in mathematics, said that Mutanga prefers not to travel.

“He does not like to visit other places,” Ceo said. “He likes staying in one place and prefers to rest over Spring Break rather than travel.”

GK was a safe haven for students who did not have any other place to go after being kicked out of their dorm rooms. For a week, GK was the only place in the United States of America they truly called home. Staying at GK required a degree of adjustment for students like Bryan Lee, a Malaysian native who is a sophomore majoring in finance. For him, the low water temperature in the GK showers took a lot of getting used to.

The absence of Hubbell was certainly felt as students had to fend for themselves for meals. “Buying food from the local outlets was expensive, and there wasn’t much variety as opposed to Hubbell, whereby one gets a buffet style meal with plenty variations of food every day,” Lee said.

Keng Mun Cheong, a Malaysian native who is a sophomore majoring in actuarial science, agreed with Lee.

“Having to pay for food was a challenge due to its costly nature,” he said.

But with the constant complaining about Hubbell dining, the saying “you never know what you have until it’s gone” definitely rang true for the stranded Spring Break students.

On the brighter side of things, being on campus while everyone was gone certainly had advantages for students, like Mutanga. For him, the peaceful conditions were conducive not only for studying. He said that Spring Break was an opportunity to “get to know and talk to people you usually wouldn’t under normal circumstances.”

The students who spent their break on campus had as much fun as anyone did in their own individualistic ways. Whether it was playing Frisbee or riding a bicycle just as the sun was about to set as a way to deter boredom while shedding those extra pounds, it was all done in honor of the joyful spirit of relaxation that was brought by Spring Break. But with the peaceful silence broken by the return of Drake students, one could only wish it lasted longer.

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