If you’re staying on campus during winter break this year- we know that time can seem to drag by. To help you conquer your boredom, and to turn your free time into productive time, here are a few things that you might want to consider doing while classes aren’t in session:
1. Get ahead on reading- Each semester you have an entirely new course load that includes chapters upon chapters of reading. With as much down time as you’ll have, you might as well get started on reading while you can! Either obtain each syllabus from students who previous took the classes you plan to take next semester, or email each professor directly asking for the syllabus so you can get a jump start on your reading over break. Keep in mind that reading materials sometimes change from one semester to the next- the only way to know for sure that you’re reading the correct material is to reach out directly to your processors.
2. Get work experience (if allowed)- Find out if you’re legally able to work inside the US and try to get a short term job or internship. Although most internships will already be filled at this point, not all will, and some companies might have interns that fell through. If there’s an internship you would love to have, reach out to the company to ensure that they aren’t need of an intern over your break. If an internship isn’t an option, see what local and on campus job options are available. During winter break many students will be going home leaving businesses shorthanded for the holiday season. If you’re legally able to work, contact a few business and see what they have available.
3. Explore your town- More than likely you’ve explored a few big cities during your time in the US, but have skipped exploring the town in which you study. Visit the city visitor’s center and get a few suggestions on what to check out. If there’s not a visitor’s center you might want to contact city hall or the local library- the staff at both of these locations will be knowledgeable on the city and able to point you in the right direction.
4. Build your portfolio- If you’re pursuing a degree that requires you to have a portfolio for graduation, such as journalism, photography, education, graphic design, etc., now is a good time to either start your portfolio or bring it up to date. This will ensure that you don’t spend your last semester before graduation working on your portfolio for weeks.
5. Make new friends– If your campus has one or more dorms that remain open during winter break, more than likely you’re not the only one to stay on campus while classes aren’t in session. Although many other international students that you already know might be staying behind, it’s a good time to seek out other students that you’ve never met. Making yourself easily accessible is the best way to meet new friends. Try sitting in the commons area to read, study or watch TV. Also, instead of keeping your door closed try keeping it open and say hello to those who walk by. More than likely they will be just as lonely as you are over the winter break and will welcome the company.
6. Start documenting your time- If you haven’t already started a scrapbook, blog, journal or other method of keeping track of your time abroad, it’s the perfect time to start! Although your memories might seem impossible to forget, it does happen, so use your free time to document a few of the best memories you’ve had while studying in the US.
If you have a great way that international students who aren’t going home during winter break can keep busy and stay productive, leave a comment and tell us your ideas!