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Freshmen from warm climates adapt to winter in Indiana



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A student walks in front of the A-route bus Dec. 2 in front of the Kelley School of Business. Anna Brown Buy Photos

IU freshman Eugenia Ambard never owned a long-sleeve shirt before coming to IU. 

Ambard has lived in tropical climates her whole life. She grew up in Miami and was born in Venezuela, which she still visits for three months every year. She’s one of many IU students who come from places with warm climates and have to learn to adjust to Indiana’s cold winters.

Ambard said Miami doesn’t reach temperatures below 60 degrees. Indiana’s average lows in the winter are usually in the low 20s, with the lowest temperatures often reaching the negative degrees.

Ambard has had to buy a lot of warmer clothes to adapt to the cold. She said she spent around $600 at Urban Outfitters buying clothes better suited for cold weather.

“I had never had a winter coat before,” Ambard said. “I never wore beanies. I had to buy snow boots.”

Ambard said she is experiencing a lot of firsts as temperatures get colder in Indiana. The snowfall a few weeks ago was the first snow she can remember, and she threw her first snowball.

“I thought it was beautiful,” Ambard said. “I loved it. Everything looked like a winter wonderland, and I could not go inside. I literally spent like the entire day outside.”

Ambard said she has adjusted well to the weather so far.

“I’m sure at some point it will get gloomier and darker and colder, but I feel like I get the chance to see all the seasons,” Ambard said. 

Ambard is concerned about slipping and falling in the snow, but she is more nervous about extreme weather. She said she doesn’t want to be stuck in Indiana because of the weather when she is trying to fly home.

“People have warned me about blizzards,” Ambard said. “I can’t even picture that.”

Ambard said there’s only so much she can do to prepare for winter in Indiana.

“I just don’t know what to expect at all,” Ambard said. “I’ve never been in negative 20 degree weather, so I really have no idea what it feels like.” 

Freshman Frances Goughnour also had to buy winter clothes after coming to IU. She said she has tried to bundle up as much as she can.

Goughnour is from Petaluma, California, which is near San Francisco.

Goughnour said it usually doesn’t get colder than 30 degrees there in the winter, and in the afternoons it usually reaches around 55 or 60 degrees.

“I haven’t ever experienced anything so cold, so it’s kind of just a novelty and kind of exciting now,” Goughnour said. “I remember the first day it got in the 20s and 30s, probably like a month ago. I was freezing.”

Goughnour said she liked Indiana’s distinct seasons. She said the temperatures are usually around 80 degrees in the fall in Petaluma, so she enjoyed the cooler weather.

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