I would like to tell you about my first time seeing snow on campus. I know … many of you will probably see this as cheesy. But let’s remember that experiencing the New England winter for the very first time can be a big deal, especially for international students.
A major storm was hitting several regions of the United States in January 2019 and snow was closing several airports and highways. Before then, I had never seen or touched snow in my life. I'm from Brazil, a tropical country. The lowest temperature I had ever been through was maybe 50° F, which usually happens during June and July every year. My region, north of the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, is so hot and dry that we often have water supply issues.
It was the night of January 4, 2019. I was sleeping after a long day. After hearing noises from students cheering in the street right behind my dorm, I woke up. I looked through the window and saw only white. It looked like the clouds were on the ground. It was truly magical. My brain kept playing the memory of 12-year-old Maycon watching the Disney movie Frozen and wondering what it would be like to make snow angels and have snowball wars with my friends.
Finally I got dressed and went down to play with the snow. The first thing that went through my head was how cold I was. I could barely feel my fingers. Still, I threw myself into the first pile of snow I found. I did everything I had imagined and even slid on the Tufts Pres Lawn using cardboard — this is a tradition among Tufts students during the first snow of the year. I had so much fun!
That aged pretty fast though. The next 3 months were of intense cold. January was one of the coldest months in Boston, with temperatures reaching 3° F and a wind chill of -16° F. Yeah, the fun did not last long. The sidewalks were slippery, the mud took over the streets and it was difficult to get around. But for an international student who had never seen snow before, that scenario was nothing that a good winter coat would not solve. The most surprising of all was that I got used to the New England winter very quickly.
So, if you ever decide to spend four years of your life at Tufts coming from a tropical region, remember to come prepared for the coldest temperatures ever. Make sure you bring a great winter coat, nice rain boots, and warm winter gloves — layering goes a long way too. If you prefer, you can also buy winter clothing when you arrive on campus. If you are low-income, the International Center puts together a clothing drive with several winter coats for international students. They are second hand jackets, but they will certainly help you if you are on low budget.