Loughborough Student Life

Surviving the ‘Beast from the East’

If you’re an international student who was raised in warm weather, or if you are naturally drawn to sunnier weather, then this is the post for you.

Recently, the “beast from the east” hit Loughborough, and though not terrible in comparison to other places, it was still uncomfortably cold and at times inconvenient. Luckily, I was geared up for this type of weather, making the walks to class or the shops more tolerable. However, I wasn’t always “English weather” proofed, and it is something I had to learn along the way. So, I am dedicating this post to telling you my best tips for surviving English weather on campus!

It’s all about the coat

The first and perhaps the most important tip is to get yourself a good quality coat. After all, you will probably end up wearing that coat more months than not. I truly wish someone had given me that advice when moving to the UK. Instead, I chose to layer up with a semi-decent coat on top. This worked well if I ever had to venture outside, but those layers soon turned into my nightmare once I had entered any heated building, where I would then spend the majority of my time sitting in lectures or seminars burning uppppp!

Don’t forget about the extremities

The worst part about being cold is having your extremities exposed, by this I mean your toes, fingers and ears get too cold.

Getting cold toes is terrible, especially if you have to be outside for a long period of time. Every step you take then turns into a confused sense of pain and numbness. So, if you have just come from a warm country or plan on moving to England, normal ankle socks may just not do for the winter months. Think about investing in some good old woollen socks.

Close to the pain of frozen toes is the pain of frozen fingers, which often occurs through the months of around November through to March-ish. Though gloves aren’t the highest thing on my priority list in keeping warm as I hardly use them, they do make life so much better when they are on. If you don’t fancy gloves you can always stick your hands in your pockets, or extend the sleeve of your coat to hide those poor little guys away from the wind.

Lastly, and most importantly, your EARS. Cold ears often give me headaches. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is the most uncomfortable thing out of all the cold extremities. Once I get back inside and my ears start to warm up they feel as though they are on fire. Of course, you could always get yourself a hat and this would do the job.

Rush

If you are a slow walker, the cold may teach you how to speed up your pace. The best piece of advice I can give you for getting out the cold quickly is RUSH. Walk as fast as you can to those heated classrooms!

Adopt a positive mindset

Other than preparing yourself with essential materials, you also have to prepare your mind. Experiences can be so much worse or so much better depending on your mindset. The cold always feels so much worse when I tell myself “I hate the cold” or “my face hurts”, but if I chant to myself “I am warm”, I feel slightly warmer and the walk to my destination feels more tolerable. The power of the mind is our biggest weapon in the midst of uncomfortable events.

Get cosy

Get cosy! If you grew up in a warm country like me, then maybe it was always just too hot to make yourself a cup of hot cocoa and to go sit by the fireplace with a nice movie on. Granted, there are no fireplaces in the university dorms, but you do still have the opportunity to grab that hot cocoa, get wrapped up in your sheets to get ready to watch something on your Netflix or Amazon accounts.

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I'm Maria, and I'm a Masters student studying an MSc in Work Psychology. If I could describe my experience here at Loughborough I would say it’s accommodating to different cultures, needs, preferences and so on.