Thursday, March 30, 2023

GEO office creates spring break program

Spring break for most Plattsburgh State students means traveling back home to be reunited with their families. For international students, it is not as simple as carpooling with their friends.

PSUC is providing this semester a new low cost program this semester for international students who can’t make it home called Spring Break in the North Country.

PSUC Global Education Office Graduate Intern Erika Clement said this program gives international students an opportunity to do activities in and around Plattsburgh.

“We’re right near the Adirondacks Mountains,” Clement said. “We’ve got Lake Champlain right there, and yet from our campus, we can’t really see either of these things despite the fact that they’re right there.”

PSUC sophomore international business major Tim Smith is from Australia and said he will be staying in Plattsburgh for spring break.

Smith said he thought it was really nice that the school is providing international students an opportunity to just not fend for themselves. However, Smith is planning to relax this spring break.

“As of right now, I don’t have any plans,” Smith said. “If I have to put one in particular, probably just to stay on campus and just to relax for like a week or so do some schoolwork.”

He said he has not seen his family since mid-August because he had only two weeks off for winter break because he was playing on the men’s basketball team.

“It’s not really worth it to go home for two weeks because it takes me two days to go home,” Smith said. “And then just traveling all the way back is just really time-consuming, and money is also a problem. It’s not exactly cheap to book tickets every couple months.”

Smith said he and his friends wished of going to Mexico for vacation this spring break, but he hopes to go at some point in the future.

PSUC fitness and wellness major Keonne Joseph, from Trinidad and Tobago, said he will be staying in Plattsburgh because getting a plane ticket will be expensive. He said he prefers to rest for the break.

Clement said Spring Break in the North Country won’t “break the bank” for students, and the school puts a priority on having programs for international students as much as they do for other students. She said she wants all students, domestic and international to participate because they are equally as important in the experience of the new program.

The program will include days of team-building, community service and fun in the Adirondack mountains. Students will be able to go rock climbing and cross-country skiing. PSUC junior business major Yuka Okamura is from Japan, and she said she will be going to Florida with her PSUC friend for spring break.

“It’s not worth it,” Okamura said about going back to Japan. “Considering the cost, the airplane ticket and the time because it will take about thirteen hours by plane.”

Although she had already made plans to go to Universal Studios and Disney World before she heard about PSUC’s new program, she said she thought the program was really nice, but wasn’t really an option for her. Besides encouraging students to join this new program, Clement also said she recommends that international students travel around the country, to places such as Boston and New York City, to know what it is like living in the United States.

“Being stuck in the bubble of university life — it’s not really an authentic American experience,” Clement said. “In a lot of ways, you don’t get to see the everyday life of other people and the difference between one region and another.”

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