This year, students will be experiencing a shorter winter break, with classes starting again a week earlier than last year. This does not particularly sit well with international students who need to travel home and go back to their host country in time for the start of the semester.
The short break has led to students complaining about not having enough time to rest and spend time with their families after the finals, adding to the fact that traveling home late for the holidays can be incredibly expensive.
The fuss over a shorter winter break may seem ridiculous to some, but for these students, it is extremely important for several reasons. It gives them time to celebrate traditions with their families given the fact that winter follows the most gruelling days of the semester: the finals week. A longer winter break allows students to relax while preparing for a brand-new semester.
Cheng Ye, a pre-economics international student of the University of California, expressed his dismay over the shorter winter break and questioned why the school is “cutting winter break by 33 percent for a small increase of 13 percent to summer break.”
Longer school holidays allow students to relax a little, clear their heads, and prepare to go back to school. With a shorter winter break, more absences may ensue, which could put many students behind schedule.
Many international students are not able to afford to head back home for the holidays and prefer to look for summer jobs instead. A short winter break could also hurt the finances of those looking to earn some cash on the side.
It is important for universities and colleges to take their students’ voices into account, which they can easily achieve through surveys with the help of the student body. The school calendar may change from time to time and the length of vacations in between classes may vary, but students’ voice count and should help shape policy.