To Singaporeans, the idea of rolling around and playing in soft, powdery snow is nothing short of divine. Getting the chance to experience winter opens a whole new world of romantic strolls on snowy paths, sled races, and a host of other possibilities that existed only in daydreams before. However, excitement and thoughts of snowball fights or roasted marshmallows by the fireplace should not cloud your judgment; for all the pretty images that the word ‘winter’ conjures up, there are certain hazards that come with it. Failure to prepare may cause you a slew of unfortunate ailments, ranging from the mundane stuff like windburn and chapped lips, to the downright complex and fatal like frostbite and severe pneumonia. 


The prospect of donning glamorous winter coats and scarves in place of your casual, tropical attire may be very exciting, but don’t let it be your number one priority when it comes to your preparations. Unless you want to return home with your degree but minus a few fingers or toes, it would be a good idea to read up, gear up, and winterize for your upcoming sojourn to snowflake territory.  


  Layer Up  

Most young people are more concerned with style than efficiency when it comes to clothing. However, when it comes to winter wear, the first thing to consider should be how well protected you will be in your attire rather than how flattering the outfit looks on you. Read up on facts about the country or specific region you’re heading for, as it will give you solid ideas on what to buy or prepare for.
Remember that the indoor-heating systems and weather patterns vary in different countries, and these are important factors to consider when it comes to clothing. For example, most homes and buildings in America are much more heated than the ones in the UK. Unlike buildings in the UK where you have to keep your sweater on to keep from getting too chilly, buildings in the US are often heated enough to keep one warm enough without wearing anything heavier than jeans and a shirt.


It is a common advice to dress up in layers. But for a student running from building to building, attending lectures throughout the day, it can be rather cumbersome. By the time you take off your layers for comfort’s sake, it will be time to put them back on again to make your way to another lecture hall. 
Hence, it is more convenient to have a thick, warm coat that you can throw on and off over your daily wear. It is advisable to get a coat one size larger than what is normal for you so you can easily add layers if your attire isn’t warm enough for the weather. Studying up on how cold the winter gets in your university’s location should help you decide how heavy the coat should be. Your tolerance and adaptability to the cold climate is also an important factor in choosing your staple outerwear. 
The ideal coat or jacket has to be made of tough, lasting material because they are usually pricey. Remember that a plain jacket sufficient for cold weather will not be enough for extreme winter conditions. It is important to check the interior lining of the jacket or coat because this is what provides heat insulation. Plaid, viscose, and polyester linings are recommended as they insulate quite well. Your outerwear must also be waterproof to prevent the cold moisture and wet winds from seeping in. 


There are different kinds of winter coats and jackets, with plenty of materials and styles to choose from. One popular choice is the fleece jacket, which has a synthetic lining, and as it is made entirely of fleece, it is soft on the skin and suitably warm. For the fashion-conscious, a wool coat is be a good choice as it is stylish and naturally water-resistant at the same time. The only glaring disadvantage is that most wool garments require dry-cleaning, which may be too expensive and time-consuming for a student. Nylon parkas are perfect if you do not want to appear bulky, as the material is light but still effectively warm. If you need something with a little formal flair for important events, lengthy outerwear such as trench coats and quilted down coats will keep you snug and looking dressy at the same time. 

If you are prone to allergies or asthma attacks, avoid jackets or coats decorated with materials such as fake fur and feathers. While they are indeed charming to look at and can provide sufficient warmth, they also collect dust easily and disintegrate into minute fibres that will irritate your already sensitive sinuses.  

You should also pick up some good quality thermal underwear. Thermal underwear uses trapped body heat to insulate against the cold, and worn under your daily wear, gives you enough warmth so that you don’t have to bundle up too much. Remember, considerations for your health and well-being should be your top priority; the last thing you want is to come down with some winter-related sickness when your family’s not around to take care of you. 



Continue to A Surviving Guide To Coping With Freezing Winter (pt2)