Photo: In his Ethiopian tank, Israel Tamire looks right at "home" in North Manchester.

Not Home Alone: International Students Remain on Campus, off Campus

Alex Baker

When the university went to remote learning, most of the Manchester students returned to their respective homes; however, the international students are still making the most of their Manchester experience. Most are residing in East Street Apartments, while others are living in houses off-campus.

Zaid Masri, junior software engineering major from Palestine, was devastated to hear the news that he had to leave his residence hall for the remainder of the semester. “I was on the phone with my mother for hours during spring break trying to think of a plan for me,” Masri said. “Thankfully, my friends who have a house off-campus asked me if I wanted to live with them.”

With the pandemic, two members of this six-person house returned to their family homes. A spot opened up to Masri and he told his new housemates that he would pay the regular rent because of their generous offer.

I was not about to just live there for free,” Masri said. “I am so fortunate for this opportunity, so I am going to act like I have been living here and pay for the monthly rent.”

Matthew Roop, senior and a marketing and sports management double major, is one of Masri’s new housemates. “My housemates and I understood Zaid’s predicament, so it was only right for us to offer him a spot in our house,” Roop said. “He takes care of himself and we all have enjoyed his company.” The housemates enjoy watching Netflix and playing soccer together.

Masri was a Resident Assistant in Oakwood and with COVID-19 occurring, he suffered the loss of his job. “This was one of the biggest struggles for me,” Masri said. “Being a RA gave me spending money, so I have been wiser about my financials recently.”

However, Masri has picked up a job at a local gas station in North Manchester. He works the register and has selected hours that allow him to still focus on his schoolwork.

“It has not been a hard job to take on; I just knew that I had to get right back in the workplace,” Masri said. “Since I am still a full-time student, I had to put my academics first.”

Israel Tamire, senior business management major from Ethiopia with minors in sales and entrepreneurship, has been staying in East Street Apartments during this difficult time. He and other international students will reside there for the rest of the year.

“At first, it was difficult because I did not know what was going to happen,” Tamire said. “Thankfully enough we found a solution that works for all of us.”

Tamire has been keeping himself busy with homework and exercising. He is a fitness fanatic and the one thing he misses most is the gym. “I loved going to work out after a day full of classes,” Tamire said. “Now I do what I can—push-ups and core have been my main workouts.”

With international students being some of the only students on campus, their friendship has only gotten stronger. These students enjoy walks and runs around campus together and they have been embracing the new athletic stadium.

“A group of us will head to the new turf field where we will play football,” Tamire said. The new stadium offers those in the community a nice outdoor facility where people can go play football, soccer, baseball and more.

Tamire and Masri are good friends so they have been seeing each other frequently to spend time with each other—from a social distance—while they can.