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International Students Find It Hard to Stay in Canada Due to Current Weather Conditions

Seasonal depression, high costs of winter clothing and wind chill are just some of the struggles students face today

by Monse Quintana Ramos
Students wearing big coats walking on Gould St. on a snowy TMU campus.
Toronto Metropolitan University campus during winter (Monserrat Quintana/OTR)

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International students at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) have struggled with fluctuating cold temperatures in the city, increasing concerns about their mental and physical health.

Toronto weather jumped from being above 0° to temperatures of almost -25° C in less than a week. 

Laura Diaz Hernandez, an international student who arrived in Canada 10 months ago, says the weather has had an enormous impact on her mental health. “The winter is making me lazy, I can’t leave my house. All I want to do is sleep, some of my friends even stopped going to class.” 

While some battle to keep warm, former students have decided to leave the country. “It was just horrible,” said Rafaella Lombardi, a former TMU student. “I stopped socializing, doing things I had to do, and the fact that there was no sun made it even worse.” 

“This isn’t a really cold winter, but I really encourage people who are coming from warmer climates to really pay attention to the wind chill versus the actual air temperature,” said Natasha Ramsahai, chief meteorologist at CityNews Toronto.

Dirk De Waal, an assistant professor of fashion, event planning, and promotion at TMU recommends wearing synthetic materials. “Anything made from nylon and rayon will create a protective layer that allows the body to keep its warmth. It works as an isolation tool.”

Some newcomers have had to embrace layering. “I was told to buy a good jacket but that was not enough,” said Diaz. “I started watching other people buying long-sleeve shirts and thick leggings and that is how I realized I needed to get what people call ‘layers.’”

“It’s hard to get used to using several garments under your jacket,” she added. “I go inside and I am sweating but the moment I step out of the closed space I am freezing again, it is so uncomfortable.” 

The solution, most have found, is not to leave their own houses.

The rest of January may be very warm with the exception of a couple of days,” says Ramsahai, offering encouragement for those hating the low temperatures. “I’m still forecasting or thinking that it is going to be above seasonal in the next few months.”


Reporter, On The Record, winter 2024

This article may have been created with the use of AI software such as Google Docs, Grammarly, and/or Otter.ai for transcription.

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