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International students booted off campus

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Although Bethel international students are recruited from all over the world they are often denied the privilege of living on campus for most vacations. Even if they receive approval to live on campus during vacations, they have limited eating options. The Acorn and D.C. are both closed. Sometimes Sufficient Grounds is open, but with limited hours and only accept Bethel Bucks. Senior Arron Patrick from Grimsby, England said it’s too expensive to travel home for every vacation. A disadvantage of being an international student is that the U.S. government prohibits them from working anywhere off-campus. Patrick does feel that it’s a lot harder to only be given the option to work on campus. The money Patrick makes on his on-campus job is already allocated to his school account. "I have to put 100 percent of that towards my school bill," Patrick says about the money he earns from working for the athletic department. Somehow he manages to make it home for Christmas vacation, for two weeks of the 52 in a year. Patrick says that in the time he’s been at Bethel he’s made great friends that offer him a place to stay during those vacations. However, when he first arrived to school, those friendships weren’t developed yet, so the first time was a little uncomfortable. "It was definitely [awkward], I felt like I was 'mooching', somewhat begging," he said. Lori Gonzalez of student development says that most international students have host families when they come to the states. However, if they don’t, it is her goal to find them one. Ultimately student development is the head of everything, but Gonzalez, is the “filter, or advocate,” of the international students. Although, somewhat difficult with only one person mandating all 31 international students. Gonzalez sends out an e-mail to all of the international students to notify them of upcoming breaks so they can organize their living arrangements. If there’s a problem or concern about finding a place to stay, they send their concerns through her, and she decides whether or not to approve their stay on campus. “Exactly,” Gonzalez said agreeing that on-campus food places are closed so the international students will leave campus for the break. “It is not that we are trying to be cruel and throw them out on the streets,” Gonzalez said. “We are just trying to give them a safe place to be, so they can eat.” The few opportunities Patrick has available on campus to eat at during breaks only accept Bethel Buck, which isn’t enough money for him to get by and he needs to borrow money from his mom. Although this may be difficult for students who try and stay on campus the school does what it can to match students up with host families. With this option Bethel offers it makes the school more appealing to people from all around the world, internationally, and even nationally. Hopefully, in the future, this problem will be easier for the students it concerns.
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