1/06/2023 Kim O'Brien

Catching Up On Campus: F&M Winter Break Experiences

For a brief moment during the academic year, time seems to stand still at Franklin & Marshall College. The days surrounding winter break are quiet – but not for long. 

In the coming weeks, students will trickle back to campus for winter sports and other co-curricular commitments. 

Many international students opt to stay for the entire break, pursuing on-campus jobs, completing research and exploring the Lancaster area. 

For first-year student Youssef El Gharably, of Cairo, Egypt, winter break provided a chance to complete an online course and discover a new favorite spot – Lancaster Southern Market

Joined by Ware College housemate Noah Katzer, the two enjoyed brunch at Benjamin Franklin Dining Hall (or simply "D-Hall" to F&M students) Thursday morning. Katzer went home to Brooklyn for the holidays before returning early to campus for men’s squash season. 

Below, see how a few students who remained on campus spent their winter break. 

  • Enkhjin “Jane” Budragchaa ’26 Enkhjin “Jane” Budragchaa ’26

Enkhjin “Jane” Budragchaa ’26

  • Hometown: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
  • Intended Majors: Sociology and psychology  

This was your first winter break on campus. How was it?  I'm kind of an introvert and I like quiet space, so I really liked it. Some of my friends were here on campus, so I just spent time with them. We hang out together, watch movies, and go to Central Market. 

Do you have a favorite Market stand? Apple cider and stroopwafels! 

  • Youssef El Gharably ’26 Youssef El Gharably ’26

Youssef El Gharably ’26

  • Hometown: Cairo, Egypt
  • Intended major: Astrophysics

How did you pass the time during break? I went on walks every morning. And I'm studying for a chemistry placement test on Jan. 12. I'm also doing an online course, so I've been busy. 

Did you discover anything new in Lancaster over break? Southern Lancaster Market. 

How is your first year on campus going? Maybe a bit rough a bit at first transitioning to the U.S. – going from home to here, it's a really different classroom setting and education system. But otherwise, it's good.

  • Noah Katzer ’26 Noah Katzer ’26

Noah Katzer ’26

  • Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y. 
  • Intended major: Undeclared 

How did you pass the time during break? I got to see some friends at home, relax, and then I’ve just played squash since I got back. It’s been relaxing – practice in the morning, sleep, more practice.

  • Lixin “Leo” Li ’23 Lixin “Leo” Li ’23

 Lixin “Leo” Li ’23

  • Hometown: Beijing, China
  • Majors: Mathematics and computer science

How did you pass the time during break? Basically just self-learning. Finalizing the paper I'm going to publish – it's about machine learning. I did the research during this past semester. I learned the basic idea of machine learning and some models – like a random forest [a learning method for classification] and decision trees [a flow-chart model]. It's a popular topic.

What are you most excited about this year? Last semester, I became the social program chair in Brooks College House. I'm looking forward to the events for next semester. Last semester, we planned a painting night in Ben’s Underground and a karaoke night. Also, a food order from Taj Mahal – a famous Indian food restaurant in Lancaster.

  • Teresa Li ’23 Teresa Li ’23

Teresa Li ’23

  • Hometown: Shenyang, China
  • Major: Business, organizations and society
  • Minor: International studies

Why did you choose to stay at F&M during winter break? Travel to China can be expensive, and China still has serious COVID-19 cases, so I’d rather stay here so I can travel in America. I have a trip tomorrow – Miami! 

How did you pass the time during break? I have a campus job working in Martin Library [of the Sciences]. 

What are you most excited about this year? I'm going to graduate and go to graduate school. I probably want to continue studying in the analytics area, like business analytics.

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