Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity
We are lucky enough to have one of the longest spring breaks on the East Coast, so it’s easy for us to make plans to have time for friends and family; fun and relaxation. For some internationals, spring break is the perfect time for these to converge. This week, I spoke to a few international Yalies who took their friends home for break, and asked them what it was like to see their worlds collide.
Isabelle Ramseyer SY ’25 brought five of her closest friends from Yale back to Puerto Rico. Despite being one of the most popular spring break destinations among US college students, Isabelle shared with her friends an experience of the island that only a local could offer.
She showed them around the classic tourist spots first, hitting the colonial streets of Old San Juan and the nightlife of La Placita. But she also brought them to enjoy the typical Churrasco dish up in the mountains and to bask in the sun on some of the island’s most remote beaches.
“What I enjoyed the most was sharing my culture and what it was like to grow up in PR,” explained Isabelle. “Puerto Rico is such a unique place. Of course, some things led to a bit of culture shock, but it was overall positive.”
Isabelle told me what it was like to see her friends interact with Puerto Rican reggaeton culture: “It was really funny to see my friends witness what real Puerto Rican perreo is for the first time. It is truly unique to Puerto Rico and is not really socially accepted anywhere else!”
However, apart from getting the chance to share Puerto Rican culture, Isabelle also felt like she shared a piece of herself with her friends over spring break.
“I had always spoken about my experiences and my most cherished memories growing up in PR, and having them see the places where these unfolded first-hand made it even more special. I feel like they definitely learned a lot about why I am the way I am from this trip.”
Laila Delpuppo Messari GH ’25 also had a similar experience when she took her boyfriend home to Morocco with her over break.
“He got the chance to see another side of me, learn about my past and about where I grew up,” Laila explained. “It was also really cool to get to share my culture with him, especially the food. Now I can mention a food item that I really love to eat and he’ll know exactly what I’m talking about because he’s had it too.”
In addition to meeting her family and visiting all the tourist hotspots, Laila took her boyfriend Max to some places that are especially close to her heart.
“Taking him to my family homes in Ifrane and Rabat as well as my grandmother’s house felt really special to me. It was really great to get to show him around the country, especially because it is so different when it comes to landscapes and biomes.”
Of course, the trip also came with its set of challenges.
“The language barrier was really interesting because I am not used to being in Morocco with someone who doesn’t speak French or Arabic,” explained Laila. “English is also just very uncommon in Morocco, so it made it that much harder for Max to communicate.”
Despite the language barrier, the trip was definitely one for the books. What Laila considers to have been the most memorable moment from the trip was getting to see the sunrise on the dunes in the Moroccan desert.
“It’s just such a jaw dropping sight. It is really hard to get all the way up the dunes but the view makes it completely worth it. Also, Max, being Max, brought a speaker and we listened to music that perfectly fit the vibe of the sunrise. It was just a perfect moment as a whole.”
As I spoke to Yalies about their spring breaks, I also heard from those who visited their international friends and got their perspective on the experience.
Elisabetta Formenton TC ’25 visited her friend Valeria in Colombia, spending time in Cartagena and her friends’ hometown, Barranquilla.
“It was such a cool experience to see her in her element,” began Elisabetta. “So much about Vale’s character just simply made sense when I saw her interact with people in her home country. She’s very extroverted and super talkative so it wasn’t uncommon to see her randomly strike up conversations everywhere we went.”
Elisabetta also spoke about seeing her friend’s interactions with her family: “It was so great to get to meet Vale’s parents. She is definitely the perfect mix of her parents’ personalities, and I feel like I learned so much about her from seeing her interact with them.”
For many internationals, taking friends to their respective countries for a break is at once a walk down memory lane and a chance to make brand new memories in the place they call home. Those lucky enough to have this experience with their international friends are offered an immersive cultural experience like no other, tours with the best tour guides any country has to offer, but—more than anything—they are offered a little piece of someone’s heart, and the chance to cherish it forever.