International students prepare for homesickness, holiday travel

Photo illustration by Grace Everett | Photo Editor

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

For many international students, the holidays can either be a time to fly home and see family or a time to miss them more than ever.

Mexico City, Mexico, junior Hyusuk Ricky Oh said during the semester, it can be hard to be away from family for months at a time. It’s often too impractical to travel internationally for Thanksgiving, making for a lonely week in Waco while friends are away with their own families.

Oh said being away from home for months at a time makes him feel homesick, especially around the holidays.

“I got really homesick my freshman and sophomore years, but over time I was able to find friends who would stay here in Waco with me or who were in the same situation as me as an international student,” Oh said. “Thankfully I was able to make connections with them and just have company over Thanksgiving.”

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, freshman Pedro Enes is not going home over Thanksgiving break. He said he’ll be staying here in Waco with a friend and experiencing his first American Thanksgiving.

“I’m excited for everything basically,” Enes said. “It’s a whole new tradition that I get to partake in, so I’m very excited for that part. I’m very excited to partake in American traditions.”

Homesickness is not a problem for him, Enes said. But, as much as he’s enjoyed making memories here at Baylor with new friends, he said he’s looking forward to going home to tell stories of his freshman year to his family, especially his two little brothers.

“I’m living in a culture that is not even close to mine,” Enes said. “I’m the first one in my family to leave the country and study abroad. That’s what I’m most excited about, is telling those stories and sharing my experiences with my little brothers.”

Traveling alone makes for a hectic time, but Oh said being in the airport only makes him more excited to go home.

“Instead of celebrating the holiday, it becomes celebrating the coming together again, which is true for a lot of international families,” Oh said. “There’s a special element to it. It becomes more of being present with the family and just enjoying each other’s company.”