News & Features

For international students, the winter is unbearable

There have seen a lot of unseasonably warm days in the fall and, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, this year’s winter temperatures will be above normal in North Carolina. But it does not seem very warm to Nia Kikivarakis, a student from the Bahamas.

“Despite the temperature continuing to fluctuate, it is still very cold,” Kikivarakis said. “Some days, the temperatures are extremely low, especially in the early mornings when I have to leave home.”

Kikivarakis, who is studying clinical mental health counseling, is one of the many Caribbean students at Saint Augustine’s University. International students have a lot of adjustments to make when they come to college in the United States. For those coming from warm climates, the weather is one of the toughest.

“The weather is very unpredictable; it is on and off,” said Ashley Weekes, a senior accounting major from Barbados. “The very cold days mixed with the warm days has really thrown me off and has me feeling sick.”

Some Caribbean students may not have adequate clothing for the cold weather. Or they just may not like it.

“I am from Jamaica, so I can never get used to the cold weather,” said Ariel Wynter, junior political science major at Shaw University. “It’s like I prepare annually but this time around it seems to be a bit cooler; not sure if it’s because of the storms or rains we’ve been experiencing…During this time, I’m always sneezing, having watery eyes and nasal congestion.”

The coldest it gets in Jamaica is in the month of January, when the average temperature is 70 degrees, according to the Tripsavvy website. The average temperature in Raleigh in January is about 50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The unseasonably warm temperature in North Carolina in October made it worse for some Caribbean students because they were caught off guard when a cold spell came in in the middle of the month.

Andre Wilson, a senior accounting major from the Bahamas, went to the North Carolina State Fair with friends from the Caribbean and did not expect the cold weather.

“The food was pretty good, but it kept raining the whole night, so automatically the rides at this point were a no no for my friends and . Thime,” Wilson said. “This is my least favorite year since I have been in attending over the past three years. I hope the weather will be better next time around.”

Wynter added: “Even when it wasn’t raining, it was so cold. I was wearing a sweatshirt and a cardigan, and I was still freezing.”

It’s only going to get worse. While temperatures are expected to remain above normal, the coldest periods in North Carolina begin in late December and continue through mid-February, with the possibility of snow beginning in late January.

— Okhalia Buchanan

Photo by Adelfina Dashina