Tuesday, Oct 24 2017 | Updated at 05:35 AM EDT

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Mar 15, 2017 09:07 AM EDT

Low-Income And First-Gen Students Experience A Totally Different Spring Break

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The Shell Eco-Marathon: Where students race against the fuel gauge, not the stopwatch

Spring break is coming soon and students are definitely excited to have time to relax after keeping up with stressful exams and project deadlines. However, not all students actually get to enjoy an ideal spring break.

There are a lot of free things that students on spring break can do in Europe. Places like Berlin, London, Belfast and Athens have sights and spots that tourists can visit for free.

While there are also ways to enjoy spring break without leaving the city, low-income and first-generation students actually have a lot to worry about economically with the week-long break. The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that some Penn students have trouble with looking for affordable food options since the dining halls are closed.

Fortunately, the Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC) at the University of Pennsylvania has provided a food pantry that first-generation and low-income students could use. This has been met with positive feedback, saying that the system has been very helpful.

First-generation and low-income students still face another problem come spring break, though. Due to lack of resources, they cannot travel or join special spring break programs. Graduate students Hulya Miclisse-Polat, who interns at GIC, said that the community needs to check why these programs do not address this specific issue.

Freshman Daniel Gonzalez added that these spring break programs do not offer financial aid. This makes it difficult for first-generation and low-income students to participate.

Nonetheless, Gonzalez had admitted that he does not feel isolated because he found a strong community of first-generation and low-income students at UPenn. Several of these students stayed over for spring break too.

Another freshman said that the decision to travel or not is a tough decision since it's hard to find balance, financially, between what he wants to do and what he needs to do. He noted that there are a lot of opportunities at Penn but the institution does not seem to recognize that not everyone can afford it.

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