Winter garb giveaway helps international students prep for Canadian cold

- November 9, 2018

Students sort through winter clothing in search of warm winter options. (Cynthia Murphy photo)
Students sort through winter clothing in search of warm winter options. (Cynthia Murphy photo)

Varsha Hemrajani grabs a floor-length, faux-fur coat from one of the many full racks of winter clothing lining the main entrance of Dal's International Centre. 

The first year Masters of Electronic Commerce student from India has heard about Canada's reputation for below freezing temperatures and snow, so she is preparing for what's to come.  

“I’m actually scared for the winter,” she admits, slipping an arm into a sleeve.

Varsha was one of Dal’s many international students on the hunt for winter coats and warm gear at Dal’s Annual Winter Clothing Giveaway last Saturday (November 3). 

The International Centre event helps prepare students who may have never experienced a winter like Canada’s before with what they need to stay bundled throughout the chilly months.

The Dal community helping out

International students make up more than 20 per cent of Dal’s student population and come from more than 120 different countries. They come from varying cultures, climates and income levels, and therefore have varying needs, says Brandon Randall, projects and program coordinator at the International Centre and one of the event’s organizers.

To suit some of these needs, the International Centre was packed this year with a collection of winter coats (ranging from stylish camel coats to practical, water-resistant jackets) and boxes overflowing with scarves, mitts, and hats (some of which were handmade). There were also furnishings, homeware, and even children’s clothing for students with families — all of it donated by the Dal community.

Winter coats were in high demand at the event as they tend to be quite expensive. The giveaway can help ease the financial burden some international students already face. While Canadians purchasing winter coats can look forward to years of use out of the investment, international students (particularly exchange students only here for part of the winter) don’t receive the same return-on-investment.   

In the end, the quick but comprehensive giveaway saw lots of international students like Varsha (with her faux-fur coat), leaving with new gear in hand, feeling far more prepared then they were before for when the cold wind blows in and the snow starts to fly.


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