International students prepare for winter

Hayley McDonnell, CONTRIBUTOR

International student Basil Jafri plays in the first snowfall of the year. THE PROJECTOR/ Hayley McDonnell

With snowfall blanketing Winnipeg streets, newcomers to Manitoba are getting ready to experience a Winnipeg winter for the first time.

“Unprepared,” said Basil Jafri, 22, about how he felt about his first winter in Winnipeg.

Jafri is a business administration student at Red River College. This will be his second winter in Winnipeg. He lived 7000 miles away in Pakistan before moving to Canada. He came here on his own to attend school, and was unprepared for the cold.

Jafri said he heard from friends and the school about Winnipeg’s cold weather but he still feels nothing could have prepared him.

Some international students attending Red River College feel nervous about what they have heard about Winnipeg winters.

“It was a shock. It is more of a deep freezer than a city,” said Jafri.

Winnipeg has the lowest average temperatures making it one of the coldest cities in Canada, according to statistics. Winnipeg drops below minus 30 more often compared to other Canadian cities.

When Jafri saw his first snow in Toronto, he remembers seeing “white stuff fall from the sky.” He felt that the snow in Toronto is nothing compared to the snow in Winnipeg.

“When the wind stops and the sky clears at night you have the contrast of white down here and black up there and you just get lost in it,” said Jafri.

Jafri said he admires the beauty of winter and hopes everyone gets to experience it without the wind chill.

Jafri said that nothing in his life prepared him for black ice. Last January he broke his leg after slipping on a hidden patch of ice.

“Black ice is the devil’s work,” Jafri said.

“Layers,” is Jafri’s one word of advice on how to dress. He wants people to learn from his experience with winter and just keep adding layers of clothes to keep warm.

Students are warned by the school and their friends to purchase as many warm clothes as they can, said Manvir Bhullar, 19, a network technology student at RRC. Bhullar is from India.

“We have winter but it has no snow,” said Bhullar.

“It is exciting. I felt like a teenager all over again,” said Bhullar when he saw his first snow fall. He is looking forward to seeing what a Winnipeg winter looks like and said he is going to take the advice to layer his clothing to keep warm.