Holiday travel hinders student plans
For students that live out of state, or even out of the country, navigating holiday breaks can be tricky.
Sophomore biology major Theresa DiFabrizio lives with her family in San Diego, Calif. when she is not at Seton Hall. According to DiFabrizio, she did not go home for Thanksgiving last year, but stayed with family in New Jersey. This Thanksgiving, however, she will be flying home.
“It was hard for me when I didn’t go home last year,” DiFabrizio said. “There’s a long gap between the beginning of the school year and Christmas, and I missed my family and my dog.”
DiFabrizio said that she is able to fly home this Thanksgiving because she booked her flights early.
“We did it a while ago, so it was only $300,” DiFabrizio said. “I already bought my plane tickets for Christmas and spring breaktoo.”
Senior biology major Veronica Marrero agreed that keeping costs low is the key to being able to go home for the holidays.
Marrero is from Miami, Fla., and she said that in years past she has flown home for Thanksgiving.
“It is challenging to find flights, for the holidays especially, that are affordable,” Marrero said. “The thing is that they add up, more so during this time when we have Thanksgiving and Christmas break back-to-back.”
According to Marrero, Web sites such as Kayak.com and SutdentUniverse.com have helped her find good deals on plane tickets.
This year, however, Marrero’s family will be coming to her. Marrero’s aunt and uncle live in New Jersey, and her family down in Miami will be flying up to spend Thanksgiving at their home with Marrero.
Marrero also plans to go home for Christmas and spring break; however, to save money, she will be driving instead of flying.
“As crazy as it may sound to drive about 20 hours south, I have saved money by carpooling with someone who either lives in the same state as I or who lives in a state that I need to cross on my way down,” Marrero said.
While it may be difficult for students who live outside of New Jersey to get home for the holidays, it is especially difficult for international students.
Junior mathematics major Ruqayyah Ahmed is from Trinidad and Tobago, which Ahmed described as “a little island in the Caribbean right next to Venezuela.”
He is not, however, letting the distance get in the way of going home for the holidays.
Ahmed stayed at his off-campus home with his sister last year, but will be flying back to Trinidad this Thanksgiving.
“Last year it was hard, having all that free time and nothing really to do with it,” Ahmed said. He added that while it was difficult not going home, it was easier since Thanksgiving is not celebrated in his home country. Other holidays, though, prove to be difficult.
“I am a Muslim and celebrating Eid alone was terribly depressing,” Ahmed said. “Being away from my family and not having much family here to celebrate with, I wished I could have gone home.”
Freshman diplomacy major Sagarika Gujar is from India, and only knew about Thanksgiving prior to coming to the United States from watching the TV show “Friends.”
Gujar is planning to spend Thanksgiving at her roommate’s sister’s house. As it happens, her roommate, freshmen Aramide Afolabi, is also an international student from Nigeria.
“We’re going to try and celebrate Thanksgiving,” Gujar said. “I don’t really know what it’s going to be like, though, I guess I’ll see, but, we don’t eat turkey in India.”
Priya Patel is a junior from London studying business at Seton Hall as a study abroad program. She will be spending Thanksgiving at a relative’s home in nearby Teaneck, N.J. because she said she did not realize they were allowed to stay at Seton Hall throughout the break.
“I wish they would keep all the dorms open (throughout the break),” Patel said, “Because I don’t know anybody in X.”
However, according to Cheryl Janus, director of Housing and Residence Life, a broadcast e-mail was sent to all students explaining break housing the first week of November.
The e-mail also stated that if students were having trouble finding a break housing room, they should speak to the Residence Hall Director of the buildings that were remaining open throughout the break, (Xavier, Turrell, and Ora Manor).
According to the e-mail, students have until Nov. 20 to sign up for break housing.
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.