International students disadvantaged

Walking across campus in the cold air and icy wind, met by locked doors on most of the buildings; no car or bus to leave campus, and little to do on campus, the holidays are far less fun than most students imagine them to be.

This is the unfortunate reality that international students must confront while U.S. students are enjoying Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s with their friends and family.

About 9.4 percent of students enrolled this fall are foreign. Often, they don’t have cars. While international students have the Mustang Shuttle to get around Wichita Falls, the bus does not run over the holiday break. Because of this inconvenience, they have no way to leave campus without catching rides, paying for cabs or walking.

During the semester, having limited mobility poses little challenge for international students because the university offers everything they need for day to day life; the cafeteria as well as four restaurants and Starbucks. There is also a rec room with games to play across the hall from the computer lab where students who don’t own a computer can do homework and browse. There’s even an ATM on campus for easy access to the Wells-Fargo bank.

Unfortunately, these commodities are not available over break, when campus is closed. During breaks, the Clark Student Center is closed along with all of the facilities including the cafeteria, labs, rec room, book store and the ATM are all unavailable to the students who still call MSU their home for the Holidays.

It’s unfair that the University markets to international students, particularly in the Caribbean, and does so little to accommodate the needs of the students who can’t go home.

The University should at least offer dining services over the winter break. International students who stay for Christmas don’t have vehicles to go to the store, and can’t stock enough food for the month-long break in the mini fridges in the dorm rooms. Several international students said that break was difficult for them because they had to leave campus to buy food and had trouble finding rides in the cold. Even if they found a ride, the ATM on campus being closed meant an extra stop.

Going beyond the necessities of food and transportation, international students are limited on means of entertainment as well. The rec room and computer labs are closed, and there aren’t any activities happening on campus. Unless students have brought their own entertainment from their home countries, they have to leave campus for fun too.

International students face circumstances over break that are unfair and make the break experience less enjoyable while they are paying more. The University should do more to take care of the students who have traveled across the world to be a part of the MSU family.

  • Aug. 13-17, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Aug. 20-24, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Aug. 27-31, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Sept. 3, No service
  • Sept. 4 – Nov. 20, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Nov. 21, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Nov. 22-23, No service
  • Nov. 26-30, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Dec. 3-12, 7 a.m.-12 a.m.
  • Dec. 15 – Jan. 6, No service
Map route of Mustang Shuttle Bus

Map route of Mustang Shuttle Bus

CORRECTIONS: In a previous version of this column we stated that international students had to pay a $20 fee a day to live on campus during breaks. This was incorrect. The Wichitan regrets this error.

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