Parents’ Weekend on Campus: An International Student’s Perspective

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Parents’ Weekend — teacher conferences, a crowded campus, people bumping into each other, a lot more dogs on campus, hugs with parents and their children, taking a break from school, and spending time with pets, parents, and siblings (pets come first, though). These are the images that typically appear in the Holderness community’s mind when somebody asks about Parents’ Weekend. However, they don’t necessarily apply to all of the students on campus. In fact, a large part of the international student population spends their entire time on campus  — “every single parents’ weekend, since freshman year,” said an anonymous senior —  doing who-knows-what. Hopefully, however, after this article, you might be able to take a peek into our seemingly mysterious and relaxing weekend on campus.


As soon as the large part of the community departs, you can feel a void penetrating from the space through your flesh and to your soul. Fortunately, Ms. Lin kindly fills that void with pizzas. Everything is always thoroughly organized, characteristic of the Lins’, hence our preferred pizza toppings have already been considered.  As always, our palates contrast staggeringly, so Ms. Lin always ends up ordering nearly every topping available.


International students enjoying brownie’s at the Head’s House (Head’s Photo)

The first night is always the hardest; there isn’t a particular activity that 30 people will all buy in to, and some of the people really just want to rest down in their rooms and contemplate our lives a little bit. So the rest of us have to go with the flow, be it playing these boring Vietnamese card games that turn out to be a little bit too competitive or doing our homework.


Sunday is for Ms. Lin’s “forced-fun” activities.  To be fair, we all choose the activity we want to do. Sometimes we don’t always get what we wanted. But there is one thing that we can all agree on: breakfast at the Lins. Hear me out: Ms. Lin makes some of the best maple sausage you can ever find, on or off campus. Pancakes are limitless, and the eggs are heaven. But what sets them apart and makes us want to stay on campus for breakfast is the family feeling from the Lins. Cramped up in the little kitchen with warmth and the inclusiveness of family and being asked about all things imagined by Ms. Lin throw me back to Hanoi the tiniest bit. 


Other meals are spent at other places, most of the time Fugaky and Yamen. They don’t have substantially good Asian food, but we get by.  So, we do get the chance to take a break from Weld food and diversify our diets. We also occasionally go to the movies, if enough people are excited about the movies, which doesn’t happen too regularly.


Monday is typically Boston day. Now, the experience varies wildly as we all have different priorities when it comes to shopping, eating and walking. I always grab Korean food just because I like it, walk to Newbury Street to do some — maybe a lot of — shopping before gathering back at the Downtown Crossing T station. Others also do some shopping and eat at different types of food at different restaurants. Some even meet up with friends, who coincidentally happen to be in Boston. It serves as a much-needed mini-break from campus.


Although I’ve only spent two or three Parents’ Weekend on campus, these weekends give me such a unique experience, enough that I think the community should know a bit or two about it. I would like to thank Ms. Lin, Mr. Lin, and Mr. Frei most sincerely for providing us with a place to stay, for organizing all the activities and for making it a pleasant experience.