Students face 'chilling prospect'

New Delhi student among those surprised by amount of snow at TRU

Sylvie Paillard / Kamloops Daily News
January 3, 2013 01:00 AM

Jasmeet Ahluwalia, right, shows off his TRU shirt in front of the International Building Thursday afternoon. Other international students in photo, from left, are Andriy Skapenko, Rahul Sansoya and Gurjeet Singh. MURRAY MITCHELL/THE DAILY NEWS with story

If you think you're having a hard time dealing with the cold weather and piles of snow, imagine experiencing it for the first time in your life.

That's the situation for dozens of Thompson Rivers University international students just landing in Kamloops from India and Africa.

Although every one of the students anticipated the cold and snow, some still didn't quite realize what they were in for.

"Yes, I expected it but not that much," laughed Gurjwet Singh.

The international business student from New Dehli isn't daunted, however. He's looking forward to sliding at Harper Mountain with several other schoolmates over the weekend.

"I'm very excited for that actually. I heard that we're tubing. I'm really excited for it."

Rahul Sansoya, a newly arrived business administration student from India just outside of New Delhi, wanted to dispel the misconception that Indians never see snow.

He said he's been tobogganing before in the northern Indian tourist town of Manali. However the Canadian cold still made an impression.

"It's a very chilling prospect, I would say," he laughed.

Many international students are very familiar with the cold, and they feel for their tropical schoolmates.

"The poor guys from India and Africa, I look at them, they're not used to such cold and gosh, I wish you to get used to it as quick as possible!" said Andriy Skatenko, an HR management student from the Ukraine.

In the few days since arriving, Skatenko has already advised a trio of African girls to get warm hats as soon as possible.

New to Skatenko, however, is the game of hockey, so he's looking forward to taking in a Blazers game.

"I never used to watch hockey but I think I'll start liking it here," he said.

The tubing and hockey outings are part of a long list of events TRU International Student Services organized to introduce new students to the city, the region and local services and activities.

"We try to orient the students as best we can to not only campus life but also life in Kamloops," said Adrian Conradi, associate director of International Student Services.

A large team of volunteers made up mostly of senior international students help familiarize the new arrivals with such necessities as the local transit system, banking and cellphone plans.

"When I came here four months back I was in the same position so I can understand how these students feel when they arrive here," said Jazz Ahluwalia, an international business student from New Delhi.

"It's a different world. New country, new people, new lifestyle, everything."

Ahluwalia is also experiencing Canadian winter for the first time, and he's just as shocked as other students from hot countries. But he's been trying to take full advantage of it.

"I've played in the snow with like snowballs. I fight with my friends. I don't want to miss the fun."

All of the estimated 200-plus newly arriving TRU international students are gathering in the Grand Hall today for the annual welcome reception.

Although the university president and deans will be present, it'll be a less formal affair than in past years, said Conradi, allowing students to "mingle."

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