‘Ready for hot food’: International students adapt to winter weather in Calgary

FREEZING FOR FLIM: Gurkamaljot Grewal poses at SAIT on Friday, Nov. 10th, 2023. Gurkamaljot is a student from India who hopes to join the film program at SAIT one day. (Photo by Mady Albanese/The Press)

In October, many international students at SAIT braced for the cold, when the first snowfall of the season took place.

And with winter inching ever closer in Calgary, students are gearing up for the colder months ahead, when many will have to make all sorts of adjustments to their routine. International students in particular are finding ways to cope with what can be a shocking change in weather.

“It was cold, but fun,” said Haramanpreet Singh, a SAIT student from India, on their first encounter with snow. “The adjustments have been big for me since we live in a moderate temperature. It’s hard to live in this.”

According to the website Climates to Travel, the coldest it gets in many parts of India is 10 C, even during winter.

“The weather is mostly hot,” said Singh. “It’s a big difference. The weather here is really cold, but I think I will adapt, sooner or later.”

For international students arriving from India, the snow and brisk air may not be the only challenge.

“Black ice injured me,” said Gurkamaljot Grewal another student at SAIT. “It’s the kind of thing I never thought I would deal with.”

Grewal is one of many SAIT students who grew up in a small community, mostly relying on his support from his parents. Being alone in Calgary, it can be hard for him.

“I come from a village,” he said. “Living in a city is a big change for me.”

Other changes students are facing include their clothing. Many students have to purchase warmer clothes to fit Canada’s weather conditions, and having to purchase another wardrobe can sting like an icy wind.

“Once you see the weather here, you think, ‘You should buy the proper clothes,;” said Grewel. “Sometimes they are expensive and that adds to the bills. I am not prepared, but either way we have to go through it.”

Jiwanjot Dhaliwal, another student from India, says he is feeling ready for the coming colder months.

“I have all my jackets and my warm clothes,” he said.

Though the cold has some students frozen on what to do, the comfort of home cooking can help with the winter blues.

“I plan to be at home when there is snow,” said Singh, “I am ready for hot food.”

Indulging in fun winter activities can also help. Dhaliwal says he plans on trying ice skating with his friends.

Whether international students are skating, cooking, or purchasing winter apparel for the first time, they are learning how to adapt to their new lifestyle.

“I take all my feelings, put my earphones in and play my favourite songs,” said Grewal. “I then walk in the snow. I feel like I’m in a movie or show. It makes me feel good.”

MUSIC FOR THE COLD: Gurkamaljot Grewal poses at SAIT on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. Gurkamaljot says his favourite part of winter is going outside with headphones and walking during the snowfall. (Photo by Mady Albanese/The Press)
About Mady Albanese 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Mady Albanese is working as a writer for The Press in 2024.