Tips for International Student to survive Canadian Winter


One of the adversities or challenges that any International student may face in Canada is the frenzy of the winter season as the country is so close to the North Pole.

Canadian winter season is -200 C freezing and quite a number of parts of the country face heavy snowstorms. The summer experiences temperatures up to 300 C and can be hot and humid. However, the temperature starts dropping September onwards, with the onset of autumn. Start of the winter is from December, temperature falling below zero, which mostly lasts till March. Mid December may have few snow showers and usually the end of December witnesses the first snowfall and continues heavily during January and February.

Keep check on temperature

A person new to such a climate will certainly find difficulty in facing such a sudden drop in temperature below zero followed by adverse weather conditions. The first snowfall may have its own share of excitement and joy. One has to be appropriately equipped and prepared to face unbearable temperature limits with constant snow and cold winds. The most precautionary situation is during freezing rains, below zero conditions accompanied with rains, where one must stay indoors to avoid any chances of accidents and falls. During heavy snowstorms, it is generally declared a shutdown period by colleges\universities to encourage students to remain indoors.

After rains one can find a thin sheet of ice formation on the roads, called black ice, which is very risky for pedestrians as well as travellers by vehicles. There are high chances for the vehicles to skid. It may happen that one might see the sun shining bright and plan to step out and it may turn out to be a false claim of a sunny day as would be found after stepping out that it’s much colder than thought to be. One must administer a regular practise, by way of habit, of checking the temperature before leaving the residence.

Look for proper facility of heating

Provision of the heating system is a must for houses, shops, apartments and other establishments which helps staying indoors without a concern during winter. York University Housing in Toronto has proper heating systems and thus, students feel it comfortable to stay. Even the buses here are well heated but a five-minute wait at the stop for the bus or train will be very difficult to endure. So one has to be properly attired with warm dress even for the shortest walk.

Must have right winter clothes 

There is a need to maintain a proper wardrobe equipped with a good jacket and winter boots, woollens, caps and headgear, hand gloves and woollen socks etc. to deal with the severe winter conditions of Canada. Getting these winter gear can be done after arriving in Canada as they are readily available here and made to sustain the winter. One can save on funds and luggage space by not buying such gears from back at home. The quality would be effective for protection in sub-zero temperatures.

Availing the sales of Jackets and shoes towards the end of October or November will be a sensible move and one can get good brands at a lot cheaper price. Do not ever compromise with purchase of poor-quality products at the cost of protection from the harsh winter. One must opt for Knee-length boots although ankle length boots can also serve the function. Proper snow boots protect the feet from frostbite and provide a safe grip to walk on the slippery ice.  Using a pair of good quality thermals and layering up is another way of protecting oneself from the harsh climate. It would be an economical idea to get the thermals from back home as they would be cheaper comparatively.

Understand the precautionary measures

One must also keep oneself informed about safety rules, emergency contacts and the help centres around the location of stay as well as college. Winter time should not be taken lightly as careless ness may result in frostbite and hypothermia. A vehicle, if owned and used, must be equipped with extra pairs of gloves, shoes, blankets and other essentials in the trunk for emergencies.

Stay active

The winter would be harsh and at times dingy as well as depressing with the recurring frequencies of snowstorms and freezing rains. One must try to keep the threshold of mental strength at its best. It is possible by making use of the merits of the season. Taking up fun activities, winter sports and games, visiting ice-rings for skating, learning and enjoying skiing and participating in the winter festival activities provide quite a pleasant outage to inner feelings of depression. Sightseeing of frozen waterfalls, watching and taking photographs in open countryside beautified with fresh white snow-covered pine trees is adventurous as well as entertaining. One must take care also for moving around in the open or near the water body.