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Thriving in Bradford's cold weather
Bradford Life

Chinedum is an international student pursuing her PhD here at Bradford. After moving from a tropical climate, Chinedum shares some tips and advice for thriving in the cold weather.

Thriving in the cold weather of Bradford can be especially difficult when you're used to the tropical weather of hotter climates. I certainly was!

I am writing this blog to help others thrive in the cold weather and tell you why you shouldn't let the temperature difference deter you from doing your studies in Bradford.

Coming back to Bradford


If I am honest, one of the reasons I was quick to leave Bradford the first time around was the weather. Boy was it cold! I hated the cold, the way it turned dark before it was barely day, waking up in the cold.... everything!

Don't get me wrong, going home was great too and it gave me access to great opportunities for which I am grateful. But if I am honest, I did not fully maximise the opportunities Bradford had to offer because I was too focused on escaping the cold.

Seizing opportunities

If we're not careful, we can miss opportunities, or simply fail to maximise them simply because of how we see the world. 

Two students could be going through the same things and their outcomes could be distinctly different. The difference is remembering that this is an important learning experience! If you tell yourself you're going to learn all you can and make this the best experience yet, you can recover and go on to make a great success of your time at university.

Being responsible for our own success

A side view of a person typing on a laptop.

Who is responsible for our own success? I’m guessing it’s us because if we see poor grades, we can view them as an opportunity. We are better able to make the required changes - perhaps seek out the lecturer to clarify what was required for better grades? Make new friends with successful students and perhaps pray...

But what does this have to do with the weather? I'm so glad you asked!

As much as it seems the weather is an objective fact, it isn’t. I remember sitting in my room on Christmas Day shivering under four layers of blankets (even my jacket) feeling so miserable because I was home alone (everyone had travelled home for the festive period). I didn't know how else to deal with my sense of being overwhelmed.

In my eyes, there are typically three parts to any matter: spirit, soul, and body. To address the spiritual side of this freezing weather, I like to pray.

It was -8°C, which is freezer-level temperature! I said a simple prayer and within minutes, I wasn't so cold anymore! I know, it doesn't make sense but... it worked. Don't be too quick to wave it off. My faith (and I understand if you have none) tells me that man is first a spirit that has a soul that lives in a body.

Keeping warm

How about the soul and body dimensions?

The soul holds our mental, emotional, and social interaction dimensions. What do you do with these? Change how you think, feel, and talk about the weather.

Most times our life experiences are worsened or improved not by the experiences themselves but rather, by the emotions we attach to them.

Think about it, if you're from a hot climate, many times when you were there, you wished it were cooler. Most of us had air conditioning units. I know for a fact that when I was home, it was the rare day that my AC wasn't on. How about when I got into the car? I dared not move for 10 minutes before putting on the AC.


And for your body: layers, layers and more layers! If you can't quite afford all these expensive warm clothes, you could ask your friends and support circle for help. Don't be self-conscious about it - you are doing the world so much good by helping them declutter and improve world sustainability. And of course, helping your pockets!

Next up, you could visit charity shops. Remember, the clothes just have to keep you warm.

Consider getting thermal underwear. I know they seem thin, and you can't quite understand how they can do any good but trust me and get them! Also, don't forget about your socks, gloves, and hats.

Don't be worried about how many layers you have to wear, especially if you are six layers up and notice someone complaining it's too hot. It's not a competition and your body will adjust.

Clothing racks filled with various second hand items.

Be thankful

So, you see, the nostalgic feeling of the hotter climate might not always be as accurate as you think! Rather than complain about the weather, try to think about the reasons to be thankful for it.

If thankfulness doesn't come naturally to you, don't worry. Make a list, read it often and follow up your reading with a smile and as much gratitude as you can muster. Soon you'll find yourself smiling even in the worst of weather.

Some of my favourites include:

  1. I'm so grateful I get to see the unique beauty of snow and take amazing pictures.
  2. I can leave food on the table and it stays fresh.
  3. I can curl up and have a warm drink of my choice.
  4. I don't have to take daily showers - judge me if you like!

Find out more about international study at Bradford.