International students confront challenges for Thanksgiving and Winter Break travel


Media: Erick Sun '24

Air travel is the most common way of going home for international students.

Now that The Hill School is starting its return to normalcy, international students are still facing travel challenges. Thanksgiving and Winter Break plans for these students are complicated and less than ideal.

According to Helen Qiu, dean of international students, students from mainland China and Hong Kong will have to quarantine for 14 days in a third country and then another 14 days in the United States. 

The school is actively working to accommodate all international students who are facing travel challenges. Qiu said, “For students who aren’t able to go home over breaks, we work hard to find host families for them to stay with.”

Getting to school was hard too, but possible. “Last year the U.S. prohibited all travel from China; but this year, with a student visa, travel to The Hill School was made possible,” Qiu said.

H-term, an interdisciplinary course term between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, has also been tweaked to accommodate international students wanting to go home. Qiu said, “There are online options for H-term if international students really want to return home for Thanksgiving and winter breaks.”

Ric Guan, a returning 5th former from China, said he won’t be going home over break. He said his dad will fly over from Canada. He won’t see his mom, though, since she is in China.

“I have a Canadian passport, and I’m not a Chinese citizen,” Guan said. This means he has to be quarantined for three weeks if he goes back to China.

Mateo Contreras, a first-time 5th form boarder from Mexico, said he will be going home over Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

“I’m going to be isolated for three days, and if I feel sick I have to report it,” Contreras said.

Contreras said having family far away for a long time has been tough, but technology makes it easier to stay in touch. He said, “I call my mom and family every day.”

Artem Kyselov, a new 5th former from Ukraine, said he won’t be going back for any holiday breaks this school year. “I don’t have the money,” Kyselov said.

There are many Ukrainian kids in the northeast area, which allows him to connect and make friends. “We have a cookout every year,” Kyselov said, although he will be missing this year due to L’ville Week being the same week.