There is always something that bonds state-mates. For New Mexico it is the artsy, hippie culture, for New York it is non-New Yorkers complaining about the crowded subways, for Florida, it is dealing with decisions of “Florida man” and finally, for Minnesota, it is bragging about the weather when it gets below 40 degrees.
While Minnesotan students are sometimes heard complaining about the weather on the Concordia College campus, the international and out-of-state students are too frozen to speak. Concordia has about 100 international students. Many of the represented countries are African, Central Asian and South American. A very small extent is from cold regions like Norway. The coldest it ever got in Africa was -11 which was recorded on February 11, 1935 in Morocco. In Central Asia, the coldest it ever gets is -14, and the coldest it ever gets in South America was 19 in southern Brazil. For students used to regions with much more merciful weather, the first winter experience at Concordia has been quite the learning journey.
Amina Fatkhulloeva, a senior, seems to still struggle with getting used to the weather. “I used to like winters before I came here, and intentionally look for colder places. Now, I’m good.” Fatkhulloeva is from Tajikistan, she says the coldest it ever got there was a few years ago, the temperature dropped down to only -14 degrees.
When Abdallah Salha, another international student, was asked about the winters here, he rolled his eyes sarcastically, saying he cannot deal with this. Salha is from Palestine and studied in Norway for two years. The region he lived in Norway only ever got down to -14 degrees.
Sean Martin, one of the out-of-state students from Atlanta, added on, “It is such a pain, because any time I want to drive somewhere, I have to wait for more than 15 minutes for my car to warm up, remove the snow and ice and even when it does start running, it’s still cold. Wiping the snow off of my car I stand there sometimes wondering why I came here.”
Jessica Shaw, a Minnesotan, agreed, “I hate driving in the winter. It can be really dangerous.”
However, on the brighter side, winter is not all that bad for some students. Isaac Ramizeras, a current first-year from California shared a sweet memory of winter: “One of my favorite memories about the snow is having a snowball fight with two of my friends. It was cold but really fun. I also love just seeing downtown Fargo when it was snowing, it was so beautiful.”
For some, winter has its fun memories. For others, it continues to be a frustrating time with funny moments here and there.
Many of the international students and out-of-state students are already looking forward to spring and summer when the weather is more friendly and familiar.