UpbeaT has a videoblogger, and it’s me!

That’s right! lifeatuoft has decided to delve into the medium best suited to students who, if you’re like me, don’t have a lot of time to spend reading outside of class (or have the attention span of a goldfish). Sadly, no moving pictures until next week, but I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, so here’s a little something to keep you occupied in the meantime.

As a fourth-year international student, I’ve had the opportunity to experience all sorts of new things at one of the biggest universities in the world, in one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world. In keeping with this, I’m going to share a few lessons with you that I’ve learned over the years; while attempting to uncover the best that UofT and Toronto has to offer to international students. Hopefully though, everyone, and not only international students, can get something out of these posts.

As I lie in bed, sick as a dog on an especially chilly evening, thinking about the imminence of dipping temperatures, I find it fitting that I share a few points for all of you first-year international students about to experience your first winter as I did four years ago. Follow these tips and stay healthy all winter long.

Dress Warm
This may seem like a pretty obvious suggestion, but it’s easy for students who’ve never lived in a temperate country to underestimate how important it is to dress warmly. It took me three years to figure out how to dress properly for the cold weather and I’ve learned three very important rules.

Number one: Without exception, keep your hands, head, and feet warm and dry! Number two: Invest in the warmest jacket you can find. In my experience, I’ve found that while layering is important, nothing beats a thick, waterproof outer layer that keeps out the cold and more importantly, the wind. And lastly, Chapstick! It may seem superficial — and it did to me at first — but I’ve realized that there are few things more irritating or painful than broken, chapped lips in the winter.

Get your flu shot!
Around mid to late October, UofT Health Services sets up a clinic to give out flu shots. The line is usually long so expect to wait, but it’s worth it, especially when you have exams and classes coming around late in the semester that you cannot afford to miss! And don’t worry to bring your wallet; lovely Ontario has universal healthcare, even for us foreign kids.

Take your Vitamins
Sorry if I sound like your mother, but she’s right! During the winter, lack of sunlight, extended hours indoors, and lower intakes of water can take a serious toll on your health. It’s important then to supplement your balanced diet (right?) with a few essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D will help boost your mood in the short daylight hours; Zinc has been proven to heighten your immunity and shorten colds; and you can never take enough Vitamin C, literally. Pop a multivitamin before your morning class to cover all of your bases.

I know this advice may seem preliminary, but some of us (non-Canucks) can fall prey to the change of seasons as early as October with the arrival of fall, and it’s never too early to start taking care of your health!

That’s all for now, see you all next time (hopefully with far fewer words).


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