Interview: The Winterim Experience
The photo of Baker is courtesy of Ochir Batzorig.
The final day of the finals. The campus is suddenly cold, quiet, and empty. Most Dartmouth students return home for the winter break, but some students either choose to or have to spend the winterim on campus. A good portion of these students are internationals for whom international travel has become even more difficult due to covid policies and travel restrictions. As an international student, I was lucky enough to go back home, but I had many friends who had to spend their winterim on campus. I was with them for two days after the finals while waiting for my flight, and the experience left me with a lot to think about. I was happy to finally have the time to form closer connections with people I liked, but there were times when the campus felt lonely though I was only here for a few days. So, let's hear what the winterim experience was like on campus from international students!
What was the best part of staying on campus?
J: Community-building! We hung out in the common room*, and that was nice.
O: It really was bonding over a shared experience. The campus also felt roomy - not everything was claustrophobic.
A: Having your own space.
X: Also, the gym was empty!
*Some of the stuff we did in the common room: Played the piano, watched movies, had SO much hot chocolate and tea, shared music from our countries, talked about life, read some books in front of Julie's sun lamp…
What were some of the challenges?
A: The food. The weather.
J: Everything seemed a little empty.
How did you spend your days?
X: I woke up late, brushed my teeth, and went back to bed [laughter]. There was time to read a lot of books. The library was open, so I had the Tower Room all to myself.
What were the opportunities like on campus?
O: There were hikes almost every week.* I went on a hike to Quechee Gorge. The hikes were one of the best parts of staying on campus.
*These hikes were organized by the Outdoor Programming Office as part of Winter Outside 2021. Other outdoor activities included cabin overnights, campfires, and trips.
There was programming organized by the First Gen Office: community dinners, pizza, and pool in the 8 Ball Hall in the Collis Student Center on Wednesdays, movies and snacks on Fridays, workshops by the Claflin Jewelry Studio, karaoke, and game nights.
Did financial aid cover the costs of your stay on campus?
O: There were no extra charges for room and board. There was also a meal subsidy that covered dining charges.
What was the holiday season like on campus?
X: The Christmas tree on the green!
O: There was no official programming for New Year's Eve*, but people were hanging out on their own. The First Gen Office and the Church of Christ at Dartmouth organized Christmas and Thanksgiving Community dinners.
*There was a New Year's Eve Sunsike (Sunset Hike) on December 30.
Ways to battle homesickness?
J: Go home if you can [laughter].
A: We're going through it.
O: Keeping yourself busy.
J: Calling your loved ones, friends, and family.