U of R supports students who can’t go home for the holidays

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Traditionally, families spend the holidays together.

But that’s not the case for many international students, which is why the University of Rochester held an ice skating event this weekend for those who can’t make the trip home.

“I took some time off last semester in the spring, so I stayed with my family for a few months but before that I hadn’t been home in four years due to the pandemic so that was really hard,” said Yangyuxin “Amy.”

She is six-year graduate student from China, studying astrophysics at U of R. The pandemic made it impossible to visit her family. She says the holiday season gets a little lonely.

“For almost 10 years, no Thanksgiving. I just lock myself up in my apartment and feel lonely,” Amy said.

To try and make this time of year special for the students who can’t take a trip home, U of R put on an ice skating holiday event at the Genesee Valley Park Sports Complex. U of R’s number of international students is among the highest in the country.

“The holidays and Thanksgiving, which is mostly an American holiday, travel restrictions are still tricky for some students to go back home, so it’s a good way to provide some fun and a good way for them to be a part of this American tradition,” U of R Graduate Student Association President Constanza Aceves-Rodriguez said.

Students told News10NBC that social events like ice skating give them the chance to meet people, do different things, and, most importantly, feel included.

“It’s also important because a lot of us come from warm places, so where I come from there is no snow, there is no ice,” Abhijeet Talaulikar said, a student from India.

“It makes a big difference because it makes me feel like I’m not left out,” Amy added.

Why ice skating? U of R surveyed with international students on what they most need from the university or the government, and the overwhelming response was more social events.