Real talk: it’s not that warm here

Five hot tips for international students to survive the cold

Canadian winters are iconic. Imagine metres and metres of snow, roads closed, ice hockey games in the middle of the street, and polar bears, who are the raccoons of the winter, visiting your waste receptacles in the middle of the night.

While winter in Toronto may not look exactly like this, the temperatures, conditions and opportunities of the season can be quite the adjustment for students visiting the city from warmer climates.

“I was scared in the beginning I would freeze!” explained Ricardo Mallaco, who is in his fourth semester in the business and marketing program. Coming from Brazil, Mallaco found his first winter in Canada to be tough, from the temperature to the loss of sunlight during Daylight Savings Time.

Carlos Carli, who is the Student Association’s director of equity, recently facilitated a Winter 101 workshop for international students. He outlined five tips for students including getting out to enjoy the season and dressing properly for the weather. Carli said that no one really cares about how you dress in the winter, and avoiding wet feet is the goal. Carli also said that George Brown’s clubs are good resource for students looking to stay active during the winter.

To help ensure that international students have suitable clothes for the season, the international centre in partnership with Peerconnect, the Student Association food bank, the school of fashion and student life, started a winter clothing drive in 2015.

“It’s another component we provide in helping international students prepare for their first winter,” said Ashley Sullivan, manager of international student integration and support at George Brown College.

Students can donate gently-used items to the drive by contacting the international centre in St. James B171.

So here’s five key tips Carli recommends in his Winter 101 workshops:

1. Plan Ahead! Make the effort to arrive early to class, drive slow or catch the TTC early to avoid congestion in traffic. You can’t fight the ice, but you can still catch the train!

2. Be prepared! Make it a habit to check the weather forecast daily, factors like wind and humidity can really affect the weather.

3. Buy the right gear! It may not be cheap, but it’s important to invest in winter boots that will keep your feet warm and dry.

4. Layers! Do three layers, the outer layer should be a wind breaker that keeps you warm and not wet. For the inner layers, you should do a scarf or sweater over a shirt. Layering is a great way to quickly adjust yourself while you navigate through the day.

5. Have fun! Winter offers a variety of fun activities including skating, tobogganing, snowboarding and skiing.

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Real talk: it’s not that warm here