The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

International students discuss housing challenges over academic breaks

Students staying in dorms during breaks must pay fees and provide their own meals
Kelsey Chellberg
While working at the front desk of Goodnow Hall, two Resident Assistants converse. Goodnow Hall is one dorm option for on-campus living.

While many students spend their spring break relaxing on a sandy beach soaking up warm sun rays, international students at Kansas State spend their days and nights in their dorm rooms. 

“I’m an exchange student, so I am not allowed to leave the U.S. while being in the exchange program at all,” Ajla Fiku, sophomore in computer science from Albania, said.

Other students, like Taiga Shimizu, sophomore in business from Japan, said he also has “no other option.”

Students who need to remain in the residence halls over spring break must pay $175. This is an additional fee to the housing payment paid at the beginning of the academic year. Staying in a residence hall during fall, winter and spring break can cost up to $800 total.

K-State’s housing fee isn’t the only stipulation for living on campus during academic breaks — all university dining halls close for the duration of breaks. For spring break 2024, dining halls on K-State’s campus closed 7 p.m. Friday, March 8, and reopened at 6:30 a.m. Monday, March 18, according to K-State Housing and Dining Services. This leaves international students with nine days where they aren’t able to use their meal plan.

According to the K-State Student Union, its restaurants run on reduced hours or are closed entirely. Furthermore, credit that could be used at the dining halls cannot be used at restaurants on campus. This requires all students living on campus over break to supply their own meals. 

Shimizu said his American friend drove him to Walmart before spring break to “prepare.” He bought bread and instant ramen to sustain himself over break and used a small pot in his room to prepare his meals. 

“I feel like K-State could at least allow us to check out the kitchen key, or at least leave it open for a while over break so that people in the dorms can cook since the dining halls are closed,” Fiku said. “We also had no hot water for the whole break, and the water we got was also brown and dirty. We didn’t have normal water for two days, so I had to buy more water than anything else over the break.” 

Luis Ponce, freshman in industrial engineering from Bolivia, said he had to use extra blankets in the dorms over spring break.

“We didn’t have heaters … it was like everything was turned off in Haymaker,” Ponce said.

At the University of Kansas, the experience is starkly different, operating customarily during all academic breaks. The university doesn’t charge students an extra fee for remaining in their residence halls, according to KU Housing and Residence Life.

“It would be nice for people to hear what these international students go through,” Grant Huntsman, an American friend of Shimizu’s, said.

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