International students in the U.S. enjoy the summer months of June through August. Some focus on their studies and careers with summer classes or internships. Some head home to connect with old friends (and new). And some stay Stateside and take to the road and explore.

Five students from American University in Washington share what they chose to do during the summer of 2015, between semesters.

Jody Dixon from Jamaica

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Dixon stayed in Washington this summer, working with a program at her college for secondary-school students interested in international affairs. Dixon and her young charges visited government offices and did a volunteer weekend at an area food bank. When she wasn’t working, Dixon caught her first baseball game and got to see a favorite Jamaican rap star, Chronixx, when he visited the city. But she rates the Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall as the best. “It was a very, very fun summer,” Dixon said.

Wasim Ashshowwaf from Saudi Arabia

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Ashshowwaf has been taking classes this summer. He’s enrolled in a challenging program that combines earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a master’s degree in marketing. The French and statistics courses he’s taking during the summer months will keep him on track for graduation.

Lucky for Ashshowwaf, while he couldn’t go home to his parents, his parents came to him. Together, they visited sites such as the the Library of Congress and the German Embassy and shopped in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood.

Anthony Aung from Burma

(Courtesy photo)

As he does every summer, Aung, who’s working towards his bachelor’s degree in international relations, returned home to lead tours for his family’s travel company. Over the years he has led tours through Burma, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Thailand. But this summer, in addition to his professional tour-guide duties in Burma, he hosted fellow American University students from Hong Kong and traveled to Japan to meet up with other friends from college.

Noy Kaufman from Israel

(Courtesy photo)

This pre-med student from Israel who stays busy all the time makes no exception in the summer. Kaufman has been spending her summer days in a laboratory at American University working on flame-retardant coatings for a project in conjunction with the National Institute of Technology. In the evenings, she is taking two biology classes, which will allow her to take upper-level classes next semester. Kaufman plans to spend most of August back home in Israel before returning to Washington in the fall for college classes.

Chakra Winarso from Indonesia

Chakra Winarso (left) and his road trip friends in Texas (Courtesy photo)

Chakra Winarso, an international affairs major from Indonesia, is seeing more of the U.S this summer with a road trip through the American South. “I’ve always loved travel,” he said. With friends from Texas and Tennessee acting as native tour guides, Chakra said, “I get to see cultures I’ve never seen before.” He and two other American University students from China and Kosovo are wending their way 3,000 kilometers from Washington to Big Bend National Park on the border of Texas and Mexico. “We drove through Tennessee and Alabama. We stayed in New Orleans for two nights,” Winarso said. “I got to see cool music — jazz, blues and country. It has been an amazing experience.”