With temperatures in Kingston dipping below -25 degrees, law student Diksha Jhinga could draw only one parallel to her life back home in India. “It’s like a deep freeze outside,” she laughed. “It’s like I just walked into the deep freeze in my kitchen!”
Hailing from New Delhi, Ms. Jhinga was one of more than 200 newly arrived international students attending an orientation session on University of Alberta campus. As well as collecting their newly minted student cards, each incoming student was gifted a Tricolour scarf or a pair of Tricolour mitts by the Campus Bookstore.
While Gorken Er, a psychology student from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, and Andrea Fernandez Navarro, of Madrid’s IE Business School were thrilled to be in Kingston, they were taken aback by the frigid weather.
“I’ve never experienced this kind of cold,” exclaimed Mr. Er, trying out his Tricolour mittens. “In Spain it’s never colder than -1 C,” added Ms. Navarro.
“I am used to this weather,” said Mobolaji Dudubo, with a smile and a shrug. Though he calls Nigeria home, Mr. Dudubo has spent the last three years studying information and service management in Helsinki, Finland – but he says he always dreamed of coming to Canada.
“This is really a land of opportunity – particularly around health care and services,” he explained. “After my studies, I intend to go back to my own country. I want to take what I learn here and what I learned in Finland, and put it into practice creating policy.”
Han Ye, Baiquiang Wang, and Yin Fei, MBA students from China’s Peking University had been warned that Canada would be cold and arrived armed with warm coats. They shrugged off the cold as a part of the Canadian experience.
“We are here because we would like to know the culture of Canada, and because we want to see how Canadians learn in their classes,” said Ms. Ye. “So far, I think Canadians are very friendly.”
It was the first time all incoming international students attended an orientation session together, regardless of faculty.
“When students arrive in January, there is nothing to greet them: no hoopla, no street fair. Our orientation session helps give them a bigger picture,” says Cindy Price, Manager of the Exchange Programs for the Queen’s School of Business. “It’s an opportunity for them to meet each other and to help make them feel welcome.”
Ms. Price says the Campus Bookstore’s gift is a bonus for students arriving during a particularly frigid winter.
“It’s so generous of the bookstore to donate these mitts and scarves. It’s a way for Queen’s to give our international students a warm welcome, both figuratively and literally!”