By LAUREN NEWKIRK MAYNARD
Yes, Buffalo is known around the world for the blizzards that form off of Lake Erie. But it’s also home to some of the best celebrations of this weather in the United States. We love winter, and here at UB, we help international students learn to love it, too.
It all starts with your welcome to campus. Advisers in the UB Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) help non-U.S. students, scholars and employees warm up to UB, providing immigration services including assistance with Social Security card and driver’s license applications, tips about home and street safety, information about U.S. academic culture, income tax filing support and much more.
UB will also get you settled in your new city, from finding student housing to where you can buy warm boots and your favorite comfort foods. We understand, because we live and work here, too! It may seem difficult at first to adjust to the cold, but we’ll provide the tips and tricks you’ll need to enjoy your first winter and the ones to come.
ISSS helps UB’s international community get to know winter culturally and socially as well. Every year, they hold a busy schedule of fun, cold-weather activities (such as skiing, snow tubing and a chance to see a professional hockey game) as well as workshops for new and current international students on how to drive in the snow and other practical concerns.
The entire university also gets involved with cold-weather fun. In December, Team UB is one of the region’s largest volunteer groups participating in Western New York’s Polar Plunge—a chilly swim in Lake Erie to raise money for the Special Olympics. And February wouldn’t be the same without Winterfest, our annual university-wide celebration of snow and a UB tradition for more than 60 years. We offer outdoor team sports like “broom ball” (ice hockey with brooms) and ice bowling, indoor food and music, and more relaxed events like ice skating, igloo-building contests and sleigh rides.
If you are especially interested in skiing or snowboarding, Schussmeisters Ski Club is open to all students, faculty and staff. It’s the largest UB club and offers members affordable ski lessons, social events and access to local ski mountains (yes, we have those, too).
No matter what you think of the snow, we’ll help you explore Buffalo’s signature season!
“One day my wife and I woke up and saw that the car was 100% frozen, and we were late for classes. The main problem was that we didn’t have the special tool to remove the ice from the windshield, so I had to use a spatula from the kitchen because it was the hardest sharp thing I found.”
—Jorge Mario Cueto Baiz, Colombia first-year Fulbright graduate student in structural engineering
UB’s Winterfest is held every year in February for all students, faculty and staff. It’s a great way to shake off hibernation for a day with the entire campus community.
A snowy day is one of the best times to experience something new, from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, to our region’s official pastime—hockey! Here are just some of the organized trips and activities held indoors and out throughout the chilly months for UB’s international community.
The Buffalo-Niagara region boasts four wonderful seasons, but we have our favorite: WINTER! Here are some popular local activities and attractions.