Activities planned for break

Ashlee Clark

He cleared his throat every time he spoke at a potluck dinner last year for international students who stayed on the Hill during the holidays.

Robin Borczon, then the assistant director for international programs, asked him if he was sick.

He wasn’t.

He just hadn’t spoken to anyone in a week.

As the four-week holiday break approaches, international students who can’t return to their home countries are similarly faced with a lack of human contact, said Borczon, now interim director for international programs.

The Office of International Programs and other university departments have planned a series of activities for those sticking around during the break.

It’s a departure from previous holiday breaks, when activities usually weren’t scheduled for students, Borczon said.

A lounge will be set up and open 24 hours on the second floor of Pearce-Ford Tower for students to socialize.

Potlucks, holiday parties and a breakfast on Christmas morning are also planned.

Not only will students have the chance to get together with one another, they will also be able to utilize services that were once unavailable during the break.

Volunteers from the different departments sponsoring the programs will be running the shuttle on selected days to give students a chance to shop and spend time off campus, Borczon said. The English as a Second Language Institute, Computer Information Systems, Housing and Residence Life, the Latin American Student Association and the International Club are also taking part in the activities.

To give the students a chance to use the Internet, CIS is donating 10 computers to be used for a cyber cafe in the International Center, said Jeff Butterfield, chair of the CIS department and adviser of LASA.

He said the Internet is especially important for international students because it is a way they can communicate with their families overseas.

Paola Cassana, the student adviser for the international club and president of LASA, said the holidays can be a sad time for the students because they are away from their families.

“It can be very emotional,” said Cassana, a senior from Peru who stayed in Bowling Green during the winter break of her freshman year.

Cassana said she kept herself entertained by shopping, working out, watching movies and using the Internet.

“Those were the only options,” she said.

Other students also don’t have much to do while most of the students at Western are gone.

Henry Wang, a graduate student from Taiwan, said he planned on staying in Bowling Green and studying, “even though it’s really boring.”

Cassana has helped organize some of the other activities offered this year for the students.

The programs established this year will give students who must remain at Western a chance to get together and be active, she said.

“We’re trying to provide leadership opportunities,” she said.

Cassana said there are about 60 international students and 30 other students who will still be on the Hill.

Onur Ascigil, an ESLI student from Turkey, said he will take advantage of the cyber cafes that will be established.

“That will be great,” Ascigil said.

He said he does not have the Internet at his off-campus home.

The international students will also have a chance to discover different cultures.

During the Christmas breakfast, students will be able to learn about American traditions.

There will also be opportunities to watch sporting events on a television set up in the PFT lounge.

Raza Tiwana, a graduate student from Pakistan, said activities such as that will give domestic students remaining at Western with the international students a chance to mingle.

Borczon said everyone involved hopes there will be enough activities available to those seeking something to do during the break.

“It will make the lives of our students still on campus during the break a little nicer,” she said.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected].