home is where the heart is Archive



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img September 28, 20157:14 pmimg 2 Comments

Dakshina Chetti, CC’19, Mauritius

Staff writer Dakshina Chetti explores the diverse stories of international students at Columbia, particularly the idea of home and recreating a sense of home. Quality photos with HONY-level of inspiration included.

Columbia is commended at-large for having one of the most diverse, accepting, and distinct student bodies. Speaking as an international student, and reflecting upon the horror-story that was application season, I distinctly remember thinking of Columbia as a sort of double rainbow—should I be accepted (*shudder*), not only would I have the opportunity to benefit from a (literally) world-class education, but I would be doing so in one of most eclectic cities (and institutions).

Looking back, the transition was not without its ups and downs. I’m from Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of, well, nothing much, boasting a paltry population of just over a million. Thus, I’m relatively accustomed to a general level of incredulity when I tell people where I’m from. For the most part, it doesn’t affect me, because I have a close-knit circle of people, family or otherwise, with whom I am able to share a common experience. Settling into life as a Columbia student was more of an adjustment than I anticipated; home is home, and being 18+ hours away from all of it can become emotionally taxing. I am so fortunate to have been roomed in Furnald, which is (no hyperbole intended) teeming with international students. In an effort to further explore this common experience, I embarked on a late-night expedition to find out more about the international student’s plight to reconstruct a sense of “home.” Talking to other international students in my building, it is apparent that we are all coping a little differently: doing things here and there in an attempt to adjust to a drastically different environment, but all the same, trying to recreate a sense of belonging.

I’ve included some of their stories here.

More stories and soul-searching after the jump!



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img November 22, 20117:17 pmimg 10 Comments

Thanksgiving means getting out of the city while literally a bajillion other people are trying to do the same thing! It’s not as bad as the zombie apocalypse, but still. It’s gonna suck. Fortunately, old man Bwog has been flying the friendly skies/riding the rails/cruising down the open road to get outta here for many a holiday season. Find out how to skip town like a pro, below. And don’t forget to charge your gadgets.

Unfortunately, this airline doesn't offer online check-in.


  • Before you leave, check if your airline offers online check-in. This service allows you to check in to your flight before you even arrive at the airport. Most major airlines, including  UnitedContinentalJetblue, US AirwaysSouthwestDeltaAmerican AirlinesAir Canada, and British Airways offer this useful service.
  • Early morning flight? Bring your own snack, because Au Bon Pain won’t be open yet.
  • To get to the LGA by bus, you can take the M60 for only $2.25—but expect lots of humans and travel time, so bring a book and leave at least an hour-and-a-half before your flight time. Bonus: there are luggage racks!
  • You can swiftly reach JFK by taking the E to AirTrain, a monorail that drops you off right at your terminal. Be sure your MetroCard has $7.25, though, cause AirTrain is $5. Supply and demand, you know how it is.
  • If you want to travel by cab but don’t want to take too big a hit to your wallet, use ESC’s service Carsplit. You share a cab with other Columbians headed to LGA, JFK, or EWR who need to arrive at the same time. And maybe you’ll make a friend!
  • If you’re flying out of Newark, shun the GWB, and take NJ Transit from Penn Station to Newark AirTrain.
  • To avoid being that pesky person who takes forever at security, wear comfy moccasins or other shoes you can slip right on and off.


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