Nieuws - 6 december 2010

Posing in the snow

The snow takes a bit of getting used to, for many foreign students. Some of them are seeing real snow for the first time.

Ethiopian MSc student Akula (right) with friends in the snow at the Forum
Four layers of clothing, including two coats and two pairs of trousers. That is how Reonaldus from Indonesia is coping with the winter. In his homeland, the temperature is now a pleasant 30 degrees Celsius, so a Wageningen winter takes a bit of getting used to. 'My family asked if it feels as though you are in a fridge. That just about describes it, actually', he says.
Reonaldus, an MSc student of Environmental Policy saw snow for the first time in his life last week. The first flakes started falling during his afternoon lecture. 'I was completely distracted and I couldn't listen to the teacher any longer.'

Snowball fight
Akalu from Ethiopia had a similar experience. 'I went outside during the break to touch the snow. It was much lighter than the hailstones in Ethiopia.' He was prepared for the white blanket over everything, and for the freezing cold. He had seen snow on the TV and his friends had advised him to buy a thick jacket. Now they are taking photos of each other in the snow, and having a snowball fight. Reonaldus sees the fun of it too. 'We are writing our names in the snow and will put a photo of it on facebook. Nice for the folks at home.'
Telling the folks about it is part of the fun of the snow. 'It is strange for them to see someone standing in the snow', says Zeleke from Ethiopia. 'They might even think that I am in danger from the cold.'

There are less appealing sides to the Big Freeze too, of course. Thi Ka Tu from Vietnam was advised by a friend not to stay too long outside in the cold, as it was bad for her lungs. Akalu wonders how you can prevent the snow from getting in your eyes when you are cycling. Zeleke prefers not to cycle at all. 'Much too slippery.' Surprisingly, though, he does not seem to be too bothered by the cold. He has even left his coat undone. 'It's not too bad for me', he declares in a decided tone. He admits that he does prefer Africa's subtropical climate. 'At least everything is green there.' The others agree whole-heartedly: snow is fun but we would rather be warmer.'