When the excitement of seeing snow for the first time is over, some international students may find themselves shivering in November winds, struggling to make it back to their dorm rooms.
Freshman Hind Albakri, from Dubai, is one of those students battling the wind.
“(In Dubai), we don’t have cold. The coldest thing is probably around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s dry, and we never have snow. I’m not happy being cold,” Albakri said.
“(Our) teacher told us it gets to minus 28 degrees Celsius (minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit) here. I don’t really have an idea of how cold that is, (I have) never experienced it. (When I was in Pittsburgh,) the coldest it got was minus 7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit).
“I am not ready for the winter,” she said.
Luckily, Kim Douglas, English composition and English composition for non-English speakers instructor, understands their struggle and takes first year international students to shop for winter clothes in Pittsburgh.
“We go shopping twice a year, and we have been (taking international students shopping) for at least four to five years,” she said.
“We take (first-year international students shopping) in fall. They take so little clothes with them because of the restrictions of their luggage.
“I don’t steer them toward a specific brand of clothing. I always just tell them to get a good winter jacket that is waterproof, head covering, gloves and boots that are waterproof.” Douglas said.
“It’s the mother in me that’s doing this. The international Student Service Director is responsible for this, but since she’s new, I’m helping her.”
Albakri said she bought a thermal jacket, and waterproof boots that has fur inside during her shopping trip.
“(But) I’m still not sure if I’m going to survive, I’m so scared.”
Although Pitt-Johnstown’s international students are well taken care of in preparation for the winter, there are many who cannot afford coats and jackets to carry them through the extreme weather in the Johnstown area.
However, Catholic Campus Ministry members are sponsoring a coat drive this year to help those in need.
Megan Deter, the ministry’s treasurer, said this is their first time doing a coat drive.
“The coat drive is taking place until Nov. 30. We are sponsoring it by accepting donations of coats and jeans. The purpose of the coat drive is to get coats (for) people who may not have access to them this winter. They will be going to the Martha and Mary house (Johnstown’s homeless shelter in Dale Borough), where they will be distributed.
“It’s been very meaningful seeing all the donations brought in by students, their family members, community members, and (Pitt-Johnstown) staff. It’s so heartwarming to know that everyone is so willing to help others in need.
“Pitt-Johnstown students can support the coat drive by donating coats and jeans and dropping them off in one of the donation boxes in the Student Union or Whalley Chapel and by spreading the word.” Deter said.