Thanksgiving is a time when families gather, stuff their faces until they’re full and can no longer eat that last bite of mashed potatoes even though they haven’t even gotten to dessert yet.
Students typically look forward to the Thanksgiving festivities and a much deserved break from school.
While most students packed their bags for the week long break at home, some students had no choice but to stay on campus and pay the $4 per night to stay.
Freshman Rithvik Ramakrishnan from Indian is one of the international students who ended up staying on campus for the Thanksgiving break.
Initially, he was worried about getting lonely while most of the students were away, especially on his floor in Dietrich.
“I lost the sense of time because you know with all the resting and entertainment and all the time I had for myself, I completely forgot,” Ramakrishnan said. “Time was just flying.”
During his time on campus, he found himself relaxing more than anything. He got to see a side of Northwest he’s never seen before. With the usual abundance of students rushing to and from classes, he was not used to the open sidewalks and the serene campus.
“I would walk to my friend’s house and there wouldn’t be a soul on the street,” Ramakrishnan said. “It was a different perspective. It was really peaceful. You could hear the birds and the animals and the wind, and that’s it.”
He even got to explore more than just the campus. In the company of one of his friends, Ramakrishnan ventured into town for the taste of Senor Burrito on foot.
Food was one of the harder things international students had to work around since the J.W. Jones Student Union was closed for the week. During the Thanksgiving break, many University buildings with food stations were closed such as the Union and the Station, making it difficult to get easy access to food on campus.
“I spent a lot of time with my friends,” Ramakrishnan said. “We went out for dinner and things. The international community here was quite strong even during Thanksgiving break. There was either people cooking downstairs in my dorm or there were other friends that I had in other dorms.”
In the end, Ramakrishnan said the $4 fee was worth it since he was still able to remain on campus and not have to relocate to a hotel. The only real complaint he had was not being informed of the fee for staying on campus earlier. Ideally, he would like to have known during International Student Orientation so he could have searched for options off of campus like spending it with a friend.
Senior Takuya Matsumoto and freshman Aasish Pokharel were some of the international students who got to spend their break away from campus due to their friend freshman Garrison Stegner.
Stegner offered his home in Eugene, Missouri, to the two, which Pokharel and Matsumoto were grateful for.
“Initially, I had nothing to do,” Pokharel said. “I was worried that I would have to be off campus or have to pay extra money to stay on campus.”
Slowly, Pokharel said he found that he had more options than he originally thought. The first was to go off campus with his Nepalese friends and the second was spending Thanksgiving with his friend, Stegner.
Pokharel said he enjoyed getting to see the typical American family. Getting to know Stegner’s family, particularly the father, was Pokharel’s favorite part along with traveling..
Pokharel and Matsumoto traveled to many different places in Missouri such as Jefferson City, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; and the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, making for an eventful break.
“It is very difficult for international students to look for friends to invite,” Matsumoto said. “Garrison was the only person to invite us.”
For both Pokharel and Matsumoto, they were grateful for the invitation and enjoyed their first Thanksgiving.