Winter in the snowbelt a new experience to some

Regina Garcia Cano

Kent’s international students share their thoughts on winter in Ohio

Graduate student Foluke Balogun touches snow for the first time since she has been at Kent State. CAITLIN PRARAT | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

For some Kent State students, this winter season may be as any other. For them, snow, rain and wind chill have always been part of winter. But for some international students Kent’s winter is a novelty.

For Sofia Chaves-Hernandez and Foluke Balogun, the weather outside is “very cold.” In their respective home countries winter temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

But for Alexandr Bolgari, it “is definitely not cold.” In his home country, the temperature can get to 50 below zero.

Chaves-Hernandez, native of Costa Rica, said in her home country, winter is sunny.

“Everything I am wearing, I bought it here,” she said. “I didn’t have anything warm because at home we don’t need it.”

Before this past fall, Chaves-Hernandez, freshman piano performance major, had never seen snow.

“People thought I was going to hate snow,” she said. “Sometimes I’m very, very cold, but pretty much (it) is great. I really like it. Snow makes me happy.”

Like Chaves-Hernandez, when Balogun arrived to Kent a couple of years ago, she had to buy new clothes.

For the public relations graduate student, this is the second winter of her life.

“At home we don’t have winter,” she said.

Native of Nigeria, Balogun said living with snow is not fun at all.

“I don’t play with snow – I rush from class back home,” Balogun said. “I avoid snow as much as I can.”

Balogun said last winter she was depressed, wanted to be alone and didn’t socialize. But comparing her previous winter with this one, she said this is year is an improvement.

“I think I am over it now,” Balogun said with a laugh, “or getting over it. This winter is much better.”

In contrast to Chaves-Hernandez and Balogun, Bolgari didn’t have to buy any winter clothes; he was already prepared for the season.

Bolgari, native of Russia, used to live in the Arctic region, north of Siberia. In that region, winter is nine months long – beginning in September and ending in May. There is also between five to six months of polar night. In other words, there is no sun during that particular time.

“The temperature that you feel there is different because there is less humidity, so you don’t feel this cold temperature that much, as you would in a humid place,” Bolgari said. “It also depends on the winds, because it could be 50 below with no winds, and you’ll be good. It could be 20 below (with winds), and you’ll be freezing.

“People around here seem funny to me because even when it’s above 32 Fahrenheit, which is the freeze temperature, they say ‘It’s so cold. It’s so cold,'” Bolgari said. “They put all these clothing on them, and I don’t think (it) is cold at all.”

Despite the colder temperatures of his home country, Bolgari said he does not like Kent’s winter because it is humid and it rains a lot.

To prepare incoming international students, Kent State’s International Student and Scholar Services’ Web site offers a handbook with a Kent weather section. It gives a brief explanation of every season’s weather and offers some clothing suggestions.

But even a handbook can’t prepare every foreign student for the shock of Kent’s first dramatic snowfall.

Contact features correspondent Regina Garcia Cano

at [email protected].